Rosa Canina, The Wild Dog Rose
Wild roses such as Rosa Canina (the dog rose) are perhaps a little plain to look at, compared to their modern cousins. Generally smaller single flowers in various shades of pink, they have one outstanding feature. The attractive red hips produced in the fall.
I think that the name dog rose comes from an old belief that the rose hips offered some protection against the bite of mad dogs. I can't find anything to support this, but it seems reasonable considering the high levels of vitamin C and anti-oxidents in the hips.
The flowers are very similar to the rugosa variety, and it is sometimes used as a rootstock for grafting.
Identify The dog Rose
The dog rose is nearly always some shade of pale pink, with 5 petals. Small backward facing thorns help it to climb through hedgerows. Hips are described as "flask shaped". So oval, higher than they are wide. The hips are more red, although you can find various shades of almost orange colored ones.
Uses Of The Dog Rose
The hips are incredibly rich in vitamin C. These days, it's so easy to go to the local supermarket and get whatever you need, but in times past the rose hips were made full use of. Rose hip syrup, and jelly were used to substitute the lack of fresh fruit in WW2.
I have found an old recipe for Rosehip syrup, as provided by the then Ministy of Food (UK)
Rosehip Syrup Recipe
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