Common names –Sweet Briar, Eglantine Rose
The species is native to Europe, Western Asia and South America. It is a deciduous, thorny, woody, hardy shrub. It is branched from the ground to 3 – 4 metres and does well in arid conditions. It was brought to New Zealand early on as a deciduous ornamental for its single pink, highly perfumed flowers and red hips. The long-lived seeds inside the hips ripen over summer and are readily dispersed by birds. The plant also spreads rapidly by suckers and is now regarded as a major scrub weed in the South Island, especially in Central Otago and inland Canterbury. It invades open drought prone areas, river flats, and prevents the growth of native species.
Rose hip gathering became an important occupation in Central Otago during World War 2, as the hips are high in both retinol (vitamin A) and in vitamin C. The hips were pressed and the juice was made into Rosehip syrup for babies as a substitute for orange juice which was at the time difficult to obtain.
Rose hip oil is high in essential fatty acids – omega 6 and omega 3 – and is used for skin care – dermatitis, acne, eczema, sunburn, brittle nails and wrinkles. It will also help heal scared tissue.
(rosehip syrup recipes.)
“At middle age the soul should be opening up like a rose, not closing up like a cabbage”