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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Shrubs in Ireland ... Hedging in Ireland

Native Irish Dog Rose ... Rosa canina ... An Fheirdhris

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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 1:10 am    Post subject: Native Irish Dog Rose ... Rosa canina ... An Fheirdhris Reply with quote

Native Irish Dog Rose ... Rosa canina ... An Fheirdhris

Roses are rightly regarded as one of the top ten favourite plants with both gardeners and non-gardeners alike. Whether it is a flower laden floribunda rose or a shapely and scented hybrid tea, all are recognised as worthy garden plants. But in this damp climate of ours, these commonly available garden centre roses can suffer badly from the fungal disease blackspot, which reduces the plants leaves to a spotted anaemic mess and prevents the production of worthwhile blooms.

Before I totally put you off roses, let me offer you a solution of sorts to the blackspot problem. That solution is to plant a native rose, which because of its evolution on this damp isle has developed an inbuilt resistance to the common fungal rose ills. It truly is a case of the solution to your problems being under your nose all along.

. Native Irish Dog Rose (Rosa canina) stem, leaf and flower, photo / pic / image.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Rosoideae
Genus: Rosa
Species: R. canina
Binomial name
Rosa canina

Chromosome number: 2n=35.

This native rose is commonly known as the dog rose (Rosa canina) or you may know it by one of its numerous aliases such as dogberry, briar/brier rose, wild briar, eglantine gall, sweet briar, hep tree, hip fruit, hip rose, hip tree, hop fruit, hogseed, herb patience, witches' briar, or briar hip. Various reasons are attributed to the "dog rose" common name ranging from 'dog' as a negative meaning indicating worthlessness compared to modern roses, to reports of the plant being used to treat rabid dog bites, again another reason why the name may have arose (excuse the pun).

The dog rose is far from worthless however; size-wise you can expect it to grow rapidly to three metres high by three metres wide with arching, prickly, green or purple stems. Through using the hooked spines along its stems it can be found scrambling up to five metres high within trees, but it is more commonly found at the 2-3 metre mark growing as part of established hedgerows. You will also see many fine examples of the dog rose flourishing in the wild on woodland edges and within scrubland.

The types of soils that dog roses cope with are wide ranging, even encompassing heavy clay. It will tend to succeed in all soils except those that are extremely wet or dry, provided it has access to a fair bit of sunlight. So now that you know dog rose will grow for you, what will it offer you in leaf, flower and fruit?

The individual green leaves of the dog rose comprise 5 to 7 leaflets with toothed edges. Approximately 15-40 mm long, these leaves contain a wonderful scent, which is released whenever the foliage is bruised or crushed.

Each June and July you can expect your dog rose to produce delicate looking flowers varying in colour from white to deep pink. These five petalled blooms are lightly scented, attracting bees, butterflies and moths into your garden to carry out pollination.

. Native Irish Dog Rose (Rosa canina) fruit (hips), photo / pic / image.

Following on from the flowers, the fruits of the dog rose arrive, commonly known as hips; these ripen to an orange-red colour from October to December. In colder winters you may find that these 2cm wide hips never make it to December, as they are an important source of food for cold and hungry birds.

Hardy, vigorous, and disease resistant, the dog rose is a perfect addition to your garden or wildlife haven.

Other interesting facts about our dog rose.

The plants prickly stems are useful if grown within an informal hedge as they help to keep out intruders.

The rose petals can be used to make a scented jam.

The flower of Hampshire is the dog rose.

The dog rose hips are very rich in Vitamin C which led to them being collected to make rose-hip syrup for children during World War II. This to provide a substitute to oranges and other citrus fruits which was unable to get to Ireland and England due to U-boat blockades.

It is today being investigated as a plant capable halting or reversing the growth of cancers

Dog rose seed within the hips usually requires two cold winters before they will germinate.

A traditional practical joke amongst school children involved slipping the hairy dog rose seeds down the back of your victims shirt. These were very irritating against the poor unfortunates bare back.

The dog rose rose has been used as a budding rootstock by commercial breeders of ornamental roses ever since the practice of rose budding began.

Almost 400 forms of the plant have been registered by taxonomists.

Chart shows approximate distribution of the native plant within Ireland, each dot is a 10km square in which the species grows.

Back to native Irish shrubs.

Dog rose images courtesy
Jan Samanek, State Phytosanitary Administration,

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Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:29 pm    Post subject: Dog rose Reply with quote

Can they grow from cuttings? If so, when is the best time to plant?
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haven't grown them from cuttings but I found them very easy to grow from seed., and now's the time!

Collect rose hips from the hedgerows, break them open and get the (itchy) seed inside and sow in pots with a compost and sand mixture. The germinate relatively easily and by late spring they should be up.

I did a load about 6 years ago and I have about 6 or 7 planted around the garden in hedges and I think all have survived. They are very vigorous, and after the slow growing of the first couple of years they are now blasting out canes well over 12 ft long and towering over the rest of the hedge.

The rose hips look great in autumn and the birds get great time in winter eating them. The roses in summer are fairly fleeting, but they are a real treat all the same. Highly recommend growing them.

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