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Rosa eglanteria

Rosa eglanteria L.

Rosa rubiginosa L.

Sweet-brier, Sweetbrier, Sweetbriar

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderRosalesRose family and eight others
FamilyRosaceaeIncludes apples, apricots, plums, cherries, peaches, pears, raspberries, strawberries, almonds, roses, meadowsweets, photinias, firethorns, rowans, and hawthorns; many others
GenusRosaFrom a Latin name so old its meaning is no longer known
SpecieseglanteriaFrom old English Eglantine, in turn from French aiglantine, itself from Latin aguilentum, “prickly.” (Don’t get prickly about the etymology lesson!)

About plant names...

Sweetbrier hails from Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia. It was introduced to North America prior to 1551, and has become naturalized here.

Identification: This shrub is 6½-9½' (2-3 m) high. Stems have many stout curved thorns (though not nearly as many as rugosa rose). The foliage smells like apples. Leaves are odd pinnate—occurring in clusters of 5 or 7 evenly sized opposite leaves with the odd leaf at the end of the branch. Individual leaves are about ½" (1.3 cm) long, oval, with double serrations. Flowers are in loose clusters of one to eight, each 1-1½" (2.5-3.8 cm) around, pink or bright pink, with 5 petals. Fruits are up to ⅞" (2.5 cm) in diameter, bright red-orange, sometimes elongated into ovals.

See our wild rose comparison guide for further information.

Edibility: Although the fruit can be cooked and used for jam, it is a frustrating process, since the usable portion of the fruit is a thin layer above the seeds, and the seeds are encased in hairlike fibers that can irritate the mouth and digestive tract if accidentally eaten. Petals are edible if the bitter white bases are first removed. Young shoots are edible as well.

Online References:

Rosa eglanteria on CalPhotos

Rosa eglanteria on Turner Photographics' Wildflowers site

Rosa eglanteria on Wikipedia

Rosa eglanteria at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Rosa eglanteria on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Rosa eglanteria at the Missouri Botanical Garden

Rosa eglanteria description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 15 Oct 2013.

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Rosa eglanteria (Sweet-brier, Sweetbrier, Sweetbriar)

9/25/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 3½ × 2½" (9.8 × 6.6 cm) ID is uncertain

Rosa eglanteria (Sweet-brier, Sweetbrier, Sweetbriar)

8/28/2007 · Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Stout Grove, Crescent City, CA
≈ 12 × 8" (29 × 19 cm) ID is uncertain

Rosa eglanteria (Sweet-brier, Sweetbrier, Sweetbriar)

9/25/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm) ID is uncertain

Rosa eglanteria (Sweet-brier, Sweetbrier, Sweetbriar)

9/25/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 3½ × 2½" (9.8 × 6.6 cm) ID is uncertain

Range: Zones 4-9:

About this map...