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Wild roses are frequently to be seen along our hedgerows, entangled to some extent supported by other plants such as bramble and hawthorn. You may also sometimes see rose species that are garden plants that have gone feral, perhaps discgarded or their seeds distributed by wildlife. There is only one true rose that is native to our area, the dog rose, but an introduced species, rugosa rosa, is also found.

Elsewhere in Scotland you may find the small White Rose, also known as the Scots Rose or Burnet Rose (Rosa spinosissima (Rosa pimpinellifolia, family Rosaceae). This is the one referred to in history and song, the white rose of Scotland, simply referred to as The Flower of Scotland, composed in the mid-1960s by Roy Williamson of the folk group the Corries. It has been used as a Scottish emblem since Charles Edward Stuart or 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' (1720-1788) and may have been the source of the Jacobite white cockade.

And then there is the sweet briar rose, rosa rubiginosa, native to parts of Europe and Asia.

A further species, albeit a distant cousin, is the silverweed which is found along roadways and disturbed land in West Dunbartonshire. See index.asp?pageid=731971

DOG ROSE, WILD ROSE : Rosa canina

The one that you are most likely to find in West Dunbartonshire is this one, the Dog Rose. It is pale pink through to white.

This is very common across West Dunbartonshire where it depends on other plants for some support. It is a thorny climber with curved thorns with which it gains purchase on them as it weaves in between other shrubs and uses them to support its growth. It can grow up to 3m tall when well supported.

Its leaves alternate sides uo the stem before dividing into 2–3 pairs of smaller, toothed leaflets. The flowers are pink or white with five petals and many stamens and have a faint sweet smell.

Leaf buds can be affected by a gall known as robin's pincushion. This looks like a ball of fibrous red threads and is caused by a gall wasp.

When the flowers fall they are replaced by the fruit known as hips. These are red and berry-like in small clusters. Each hip contains many hairy seeds. While foragers can be seen picking bramble and rasberries, few people seem to look for rose hips these days. The benefits of rosehips have been appreciated for centuries, but they really became popular during World War II when fresh produce was scarce. The Woodland Trust is one of several online sources for rosehip syrup. Also see FORAGING : index.asp?pageid=731714

A pink rose in the Lomond Industrial Estate. The colour, when pink is consistent across the flower, unlike the sweet briar shown below.

Examples found on the hill above Renton.

Dog rose hips are elongated and bright red.


Also known as rugosa rose, beach rose, Japanese rose, Ramanas rose, or letchberry.

Having got familiar with the dog rose, you could be forgiven for thinking of this as simply a darker brighter pink version of it. But this is an introduced species that originates in eastern Asia.

It is in other ways very similar to our native rose. 

The edible hips, which resemble cherry tomatoes, are large, 2–3 cm diameter, and often shorter than their diameter, not elongated; in late summer and early autumn the plants often bear fruit and flowers at the same time. The leaves typically turn bright yellow before falling in autumn.

This example was found at Bowling on the old harbour quayside.

SWEET BRIAR ROSE : Rosa rubiginosa

Also known as sweet briar, sweet brier or eglantine.

This is a deciduous shrub that can grow to 2–3 meters high. Some say that the foliage have a strong apple-like fragrance. The leaves are pinnately compound, 5–9  cm long, with 5–9 rounded to oval leaflets with a serrated margin, and numerous glandular hairs. The flowers have five petals and are pink with a white base. The hips are red. 

Wiki tells us that the tea made from the hips of this rose is very popular in Europe and elsewhere, where it is considered a healthy way for people to get their daily dose of vitamin C and other nutrients. A cup of rosehip tea will provide the minimum daily adult requirement of vitamin C. During World War II the British relied on rose hips and hops as the sources for their vitamins A and C. It was a common British wartime expression to say that: "We are getting by on our hips and hops"

Note the white central area of petals which are pink across the rest of the flower.

MOTHER EARTH LIVING : rose hip recipes : https://www.motherearthliving.com/food-and-recipes/cooking-methods/hiphip/

NATIONAL RECORDS OF SCOTLAND : https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/research/archivists-garden/index-by-plant-name/white-rose-of-scotland-scots-rose-burnet-rose

SCOTTISH HIGHLAND TRAILS : https://highlandtrails.com/the-little-white-rose/#:~:text=Rosa%20x%20alba%20grows%20all%20over%20Scotland.%20It,have%20a%20beautiful%20scent%20with%20notes%20of%20citrus.

WIKIPEDIA : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flower_of_Scotland and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosa_rugosa and 


WOODLAND TRUST : https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/plants/wild-flowers/dog-rose/ & for rose hip syrup https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blog/2019/07/raw-rosehip-syrup/

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