Species: Dog-rose (Rosa canina)

Family: Roses (ROSACEAE)

Category: Flowering Plants

Location: E

A. Flowering Plants

More extensive information on flowering plants can be found in a separate blog post.


The Rose family gives us many of our most commercially important fruits, such as the Prunus species. They have alternate leaves and 5-petalled flowers.

C. Dog-rose (Rosa canina)

The name of this native rose may be a corruption of 'dagger rose', because of its long thorns, or be derived from the fact that the root was once held to cure rabies, commonly acquired in times past from the bite of rabid dogs. The young shoots are edible. Pick petals that are about to fall, from June to August. Rose petal tea has a delicate flavour, as has rose petal jelly. The petals, when laid on wounds, help to fight infection, and a bag of petals dangling in the bath will help to preserve and improve the complexion. The hips are rich in vitamin C, and are picked in late Autumn after a frost. Remove the hairs and seeds unless you are using a process that includes filtration. Crushed hips make a tasty tea.

Identifying native roses

There are a number of different rose plants in the cemetery. Apart from in the small 'memorial' corner which has been planted with roses just inside the Cemetery gates, there are various climbing and rambling roses that at first glance are all dog-roses. However, text books make it clear that there are at least 12 different species of native rose, of which Dog-rose (Rosa canina) is just one. Some of these have white flowers, others pink ones, and one has red flowers.

We are lucky to have the support of a number of specialists in their field who help us with species identification and, for plants, Sue Denness of the Sussex Botanical Recording Society has been especially helpful. During her visit to the cemetery in June 2022, she was kind enough to pay attention to these different roses, and took some cuttings away to be identified by a fellow botanist who specializes in roses, Elisabeth Sturt.

The individual plant photographed here, which can be found in the east of the cemetery (next to the Irish Yew), is indeed a Dog-rose, Rosa canina.

Additional Information

Recipe for Rosehip and Crab Apple Jelly

2 lb (900g) rosehips 5 lb (2.5kg) crab apples
3 pints (1800ml) water sugar.
Put the rosehips through a mincer and simmer for ten minutes in 1 ½ pints (900ml) water. Leave to stand for ten minutes. Slice the crab apples and simmer with 1 ½ pints (900 ml) water until pulped. Strain both together overnight through a jelly bag. Weigh 1 lb (450g) sugar for each pint of juice. Boil the juice and dissolve the sugar. Continue boiling until the setting point is reached. Bottle and seal.

Recipe for Rosehip Cordial

2 3/4 lb (1.25 kg) rosehips 4 pints (2.4 l) water
12 oz (350 g) granulated sugar for every pint (600 ml) of syrup made.
Bring the water to the boil in a saucepan. Finely chop the rosehips, add to the water and reboil. Cover and simmer gently for ten minutes. Remove heat and stand for fifteen minutes. Strain through a jelly bag previously sterilized with boiling water. Cover and leave to complete. Measure the syrup volume and weigh the requisite amount of sugar. Gently heat the syrup and add the sugar with stirring until dissolved. Boil until syrupy; about five minutes should be enough. Pour into bottles and cork. Store in the refrigerator, in which it will keep for a few weeks. Rosehip syrup, for those with a sore throat, cough, colic or diarrhoea, is made in a similar way.

Recipe for Rosehip Syrup

2 lb (900g) rosehips 4 ½ pints (2.5 l) water
1 lb (450g) honey for every 1 ½ pints (900ml) liquid.
Mince the fruit, put it into 3 pints (1800ml) boiling water, bring back to the boil, and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Strain through a jelly bag. Put the pulp into a saucepan and add 1 ½ pints boiling water. Stir, stand for 10 minutes, and strain overnight through a jelly bag. Boil the strained liquor until it is reduced to 1 ½ pints. Add the honey, stir to dissolve and boil for 5 minutes. Bottle and seal. It can be added to sweet sauces or mixed with ice cream or natural yoghurt. Rosehips make a sweet wine.



This very pale-pink Dog-rose in the Cemetery comes into flower in late May.


This Dog-rose is one of three different rambling rose shrubs that have found their way into the cemetery.


The hips of the dog-rose are rich in vitamin C, and are picked in late Autumn after a frost.