Sweet-briar - Rosa rubiginosa

Alternative names

The attractive pink flowers are highly scented and are followed by large red hips which last well into winter.  The leaves are also scented, said to resemble the smell of apples. The whole plant is vigorous with arching, thorn bearing stems.  Leaflets with sticky glands underside, fruit-smelling when crushed or after rain; pedicels (flower stalks) also glandular and hairy. and often with slender straight prickles. 

Similar Species

Other roses; Small sweet-briar (Rosa micrantha) has very similar glandular leaflets and pedicels.

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

check for glands and glandular hairs on leaflets, pedicels,

Recording advice

A photo is required showing glands under leaflets and glandular hairs on  pedicels


Sometimes planted as hedging and may be found in areas such as country parks.

When to see it

Flowering in summer.

Life History


UK Status

Widespread in Britain, though often as an escape or introduction.

VC55 Status

Occasional as an introduction in Leicestershire and Rutland; may be native especially in limestone areas to east of Vice-county.

It was on the 2011 VC55 Rare Plant Register (Jeeves, 2011) but is not on the current RPR (Hall & Woodward, 2022); it is listed as 'data deficient' because it is not clear whether records are of introduced/escaped plants or natives.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map

Species profile

Common names
Species group:
Trees, Shrubs & Climbers
Records on NatureSpot:
First record:
23/06/2021 (Bedford, Frank)
Last record:
23/06/2021 (Bedford, Frank)

Total records by month

% of records within its species group

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