Plant DetailShow Menu

Wild Rose Rosa rugosa

Previously known as:

  • Rosa andreae
  • Rosa coruscans
  • Rosa pubescens
Phonetic Spelling
RO-za ru-GO-sa
Description

Rugosa rose is a hardy, multi-stemmed, disease-resistant deciduous shrub rose that has fragrant and showy flowers and hips. It grows to 4 to 6 feet tall and as equally as wide with a rounded or mounding habit. Over time the shrub will spread by suckers and forms dense thickets. The stems are erect to arching, stout, bristly, spiny, and have 1/4- inch needle-like thorns. The leaves are alternate and pinnately compound with 5 to 9 dark green leaflets. The surface of the leaves is thick, firm, and wrinkled in appearance. The flowers first appear in late May and persist through the first frost of fall. They appear in clusters or singly, usually 5-petaled in shades of pink to white with showy yellow stamens. Flower colors may vary depending on the cultivar. The fruits are large, cherry-like hips that are bright red to orange. They appear in August and persist through the winter months.

The rugosa rose is a member of the Rosaceae or rose family. It is a native of eastern Russia, Korea, Japan, and northern China. It has been introduced around the world for ornamental purposes; however, it has been invasive in many coastal regions, particularly in New England.

The genus name, Rosa, originates from the Latin name for rose. The epithet, rugosa, is translated as wrinkled and references the appearance of the leaves.

This rose is best grown in moist, acidic to neutral, well-drained soils. It is poor soil tolerant and may be grown in sandy, clay, or gravelly soils. Full sun is required for the best flowering and to increase disease resistance. Good air circulation, avoiding overhead watering, and wet soils decrease the chance of foliage diseases. It withstands heavy pruning and is resistant to damage by deer, rabbits, and rodents due to its prickly stems. Pruning is best done in late winter to early spring. It is also drought and salt-spray tolerant. It may sucker and form colonies, so be careful when planting because these plants can take over the garden. The shrub is reproduced by hardwood stem cuttings or suckers. Deadheading the flowers should be avoided so that a beautiful display of rose hips will be seen in the fall and winter months.

Birds are attracted to the fruits, and butterflies and insects pollinate the flowers. Because of its tolerance to salt and sand, it has been frequently planted in coastal areas to help prevent erosion.  Many varieties and cultivars have been developed that have single, semi-double, or double flowers in colors of pink, purple, red, orange, or white. Most roses are susceptible to many diseases such as black spots and powdery mildew; however, the rugosa rose is noted for having excellent disease resistance due to its thicker leaves.

The rugosa rose may be considered as a hedge, screen, or specimen to provide interest and color in the landscape. Flowering from early summer to the first frost, this shrub would be lovely along a slope or bank. 

Seasons of Interest:

Bloom: Late Spring, Summer, and Fall          Fruit: Summer, Fall, and Winter           

Quick ID Hints:

  • deciduous shrub, rounded, mounded habit
  • stout, spiny stems with 0.25-inch needle-like prickles
  • dark green upper surface, alternate, pinnately compounded leaves with 5 to 9 leaflets
  • leaflets are elliptic to obovate, 1 to 2-inch long, serrate margins, wrinkled upper surface, and pubescent on the undersides
  • flowers appear in clusters or singly as pink to white blooms, 2 to 3 inches wide, with 5 petals and showy yellow stamens
  • fruits are large, 1-inch in diameter, cherry-like hips of red to orange

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: The rugosa rose is less susceptible to diseases and insects due to its thick leaves. The plant is most disease resistant when planted in full sun with good air circulation. Potential diseases may include rust, rose rosette, black spots, and powdery mildew.  This shrub is also susceptible to aphids, beetles, borers, scales, rose midges leafhoppers, spider mites, and thrips, Avoid wet soils.

VIDEO created by Grant L. Thompson for “Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines for Landscaping” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Horticulture at Iowa State University.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Alba', 'Albiglora', 'Alboplena', 'Atropurpurea', 'Belle Poitevine', 'Blanc Double de Coubert', 'F.J. Grootendorst', 'Frau Dagmar Hastrup', 'Hansa', 'Will Alderman'
Tags:
#thorns#deciduous#fragrant flowers#pink flowers#deciduous shrub#salt tolerant#rabbit resistant#disease resistant#mounding#summer flowers#deer resistant#spines#red fruits#edible fruits#rounded#pollinator plant#orange fruits#poor soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#full sun#landscape plant sleuths course
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Alba', 'Albiglora', 'Alboplena', 'Atropurpurea', 'Belle Poitevine', 'Blanc Double de Coubert', 'F.J. Grootendorst', 'Frau Dagmar Hastrup', 'Hansa', 'Will Alderman'
Tags:
#thorns#deciduous#fragrant flowers#pink flowers#deciduous shrub#salt tolerant#rabbit resistant#disease resistant#mounding#summer flowers#deer resistant#spines#red fruits#edible fruits#rounded#pollinator plant#orange fruits#poor soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#full sun#landscape plant sleuths course
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rosa
    Species:
    rugosa
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The fruits of this shrub are the source of the rose hips used commercially to make tea.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern Russia, Korea, Japan, and Northern China
    Distribution:
    Introduced: United States--AK, CT, DE, IL, KY, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, NH, NJ, NY, OH, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, and WS; portions of Canada, most of Europe,
    Wildlife Value:
    The plant attracts pollinating insects and butterflies. Birds enjoy the fruits in the summer.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Edible fruit
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    road salt
    Edibility:
    The fruits or hips are used to make jams and jellies.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 4 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Rose
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Dense
    Erect
    Mounding
    Multi-stemmed
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
    Appendage:
    Prickles
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruits are fleshy, edible, large, cherry-like hips about 1-inch in diameter. They are initially dull green and ripen to bright glossy red to orange by late summer. The seeds or achenes are encased in the hips. Each hip contains 20 to 120 seeds. The fruits are present from August and persist until winter.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    The flowers are fragrant and appear in clusters or singly in shades of rose pink or white blooms. They measure 2 to 3 inches wide with 5 petals and have 200 to 250 showy yellow stamens per flower. They bloom from late May to July with intermittent blooming until frost.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are glossy dark green, alternate, and pinnately compound with 5 to 9 leaflets. They are elliptic to obovate and 1 to 2 inches long and 0.6 to 1.2 inches wide with an acute tip. The margins are serrate and rugose. The upper surface is wrinkled, and the underside is greenish-gray and pubescent. The leaf texture is leathery, thick, and firm with a fall color of yellow to orange-red. The petiole is prickly and downy.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The stems are erect to arching, multi-branched, stout, bristly, spiny, and have prickles about 0.25 inches long. The prickles are slender and straight. On young stems, they appear light green and have dense wooly hairs and many prickles. Older branches appear woody and brown.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Naturalized Area
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Poor Soil
    Rabbits
    Salt