advice on rugosa grown for fruit

I’m new to your forum.

I am a hobbyist fruit grower that specializes in edible landscape plants. I am familiar with Fru Dagmar Hastrup, which is a good producer of large hips. Can anyone recommend a variety that would be a better choice… larger hips, better flavor, better blooms, etc.

If anyone has cross bred rugosa type roses with the goal of more flavorful fruit, I would be interested in acquiring seeds or cuttings.

Lastly, is there a species of Rosa that has good disease resistance like rugosa and has potential as an edible?


Mark Lee, Seattle

You may want to check out R. pomifera which I’ve heard mentioned as a pentaploid. On the other hand, Modern Roses 10 says its a tetraploid.

Since yesterday I have done more research. and ran across R. pomifera (aka R. villosa) on my own. Thanks for the tip also. This rose is known as rose apple. The fruits are a around 3cm in diameter. The flesh is full of antioxidants. The seeds contain an edible oil and vitamin E. In addition to jam and soup, the fruit in dried form is used to make a fruity flavored tea. I found this for sale online at Forestfarm Nursury, but if anyone has seed of this species that they can share, please contact me.

Other roses with huge flavorful hips include:

R. macrophylla - fruits up to 7cm long (can’t locate a source)

R. moyesii - fruits up to 6cm long, dried fruits ground into flour and used in pancakes (seed at

R. roxburghii - fruits up to 4cm long and aromatic, spiny fruits look like chestnuts, high levels of beneficial compounds (also from Forestfarm Nursery)

I’m still accepting advice and offers of seed for roses grown for hips.


Mark Lee, Seattle

I grow R. roxburghii normalis, which I love dearly. The hips drop at the end of August when they’re still green. If you extract the seeds at this point as I do, your fingers turn purple and black for several weeks and become very, very sore. I’ve read that the hips are used medicinally, but my guess is that there aren’t many people about who would ingest them voluntarily. On the other hand, hips from Trigintipetala and Nuits de Young are very tasty.

Trigintipetala AKA Kazanlik, the rose used to make rose atter (perfume), is not a good plant for hips. It makes them, but not abundant, and the bush takes so much room, and it is clumsy at that.

Hi Enrique

Before I had my own house, everytime there was a rose I wanted, I bought one for my late father. Since the back garden was full, the roses were planted out on the front lawn, and that included Bonica and Trigintipetala, and a few mosses and damasks. I wanted to get him a wild rose of the type they might have had in Ukraine when he was young, and that was the best I could do. It is a monster, I do agree, but if you’ve got relatives with a lawn that is just taking up space, what’s the harm? And those hips really tasted good. Anyway I understand that Kazanlik was one of the roses used in the genetic study. If I can’t have R. fedtchenkoana, at least there’s Kazankik to play with.


I have an r. pomifera seedling out back that’s fully grown now and produces tons of large hips. I am not particularly into rosehips for food but I have tasted these and, when ripe, they are nice and sweet.

If you are still looking for seeds drop me a line. I didn’t harvest any this fall but there may still be some good ones left, although they have probably gone soft and squishy. I have had good luck germinating species seeds from hips in this condition.

The blooms are quite pretty too.



Thanks with the offer. Let’s arrange this exchange off-line. My e-mail address is .

Here is another question about hips. I have read a warning that says “There is a layer of hairs around the seeds just beneath the flesh of the fruit. These hairs can cause irritation to the mouth and digestive tract if ingested.” Any idea what this is about. I guess what it is saying is don’t eat the seeds. Any comments.



When I’ve been extracting seeds from hips, the hairs have at times caused irritation of my hands, feeling something like fiber-glass between my fingers. Thankfully, they wash off pretty easily. I can imagine they’d be unpleasant, to say the least, to ingest. I’ve nibbled on the hips of rugosa, canina and pimpinellifolia; but I’m always careful to just bite into the fleshy part…not through it. So far, no problem with that kind of nibbling. But I’d be careful with those hairs in the seed cavity. I would guess that those hairs might be the reason; why recipes utilizing rose hips (tea, jelly, syrup), all seem to be involve a straining process.

I have read a reference that stated the hairs found on seeds of R. arvensis were used by British children as an “itching powder.” I wonder if that is a trait shared among species, or if arvensis is particularly irritating.

I also wonder what about the fibers gives them this property - is it structural or chemical? It seems unlikely that most straining procedures would actually remove the fibers, so perhaps they undergo softening, chemical deactivation, or some other change during the heating process. Or maybe the fibers don’t easily get into the recipe in the first place (I don’t know, I’ve never cooked with rose hips). Perhaps species with superior eating traits also have less irritating or fewer hairs. This might be a good trait to breed for, were one to breed roses for food use.

Title: Importance of complementary medicine exemplified by the use of rose-hip

Authors: Rossnagel K, Willich SN

Published in: GESUNDHEITSWESEN, volumn 63, pages 412-416, June 2001.

Abstract: "Rose-hips develop from blossoms of the wild rose (rosa canina) and are a popular natural remedy. Laboratory experiments have shown that rose-hip extract inhibits lipid oxidation in vitro and reduces the chemotaxis and chemoluminescence of leucocytes.

In clinical studies serum CRP- und creatinin levels declined in healthy subjects and patients with osteoarthritis under rose-hip treatment. Additionally patients suffering from osteoarthritis reported that physical symptoms declined. Data from a randomised controlled trial indicate not only that pain significantly declined but also flexion of the hip improved in the active treatment group.

The anti-inflammatory properties of rose-hip are useful as a natural treatment in patients with osteoarthritis. It remains to be proven which of the components are responsible for these effects. There is some evidence that in addition to the high vitamin content flavonoids may be actively involved."

Wow. That’s interesting. I hadn’t realized that rose hips might have some potent health benefits beyond vitamin C. Thanks for sharing that information, Henry.

-Mark Lee, Seattle