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Toxic parts

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.

Edible uses


Fruit - raw or cooked[1]. The fruit is up to 15mm in diameter[2], but there is only a thin layer of flesh surrounding the many seeds[K]. Some care has to be taken when eating this fruit, see the notes above on known hazards.

The buds are eaten by native Indians in N. America[3][1][4]. No further details are given, does this refer to the leaf or flower buds?

The seed is a good source of vitamin E, it can be ground into a powder and mixed with flour or added to other foods as a supplement[5][4]. Be sure to remove the seed hairs[5].



Material uses

Can be grown as a hedge, succeeding in windy positions[6][7]. The suckering form of this species can be used to fix sand dunes[7]. It also makes a good ground cover[8].
There are no material uses listed for Rosa virginiana.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

A decoction of the roots has been used as a bath and to treat worms in children[9]. An infusion of the roots has been drunk and used as a wash in treating bleeding cuts on the feet[9].

An infusion of the roots has been used as a wash to treat sore eyes[9].

The fruit of many members of this genus is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavanoids and other bio-active compounds. It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty acids, which is fairly unusual for a fruit. It is being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers[10].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Ground cover


Earth stabiliser


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed. Rose seed often takes two years to germinate. This is because it may need a warm spell of weather after a cold spell in order to mature the embryo and reduce the seedcoat[11]. One possible way to reduce this time is to scarify the seed and then place it for 2 - 3 weeks in damp peat at a temperature of 27 - 32°c (by which time the seed should have imbibed). It is then kept at 3°c for the next 4 months by which time it should be starting to germinate[11]. Alternatively, it is possible that seed harvested 'green' (when it is fully developed but before it has dried on the plant) and sown immediately will germinate in the late winter. This method has not as yet(1988) been fully tested[11]. Seed sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame sometimes germinates in spring though it may take 18 months. Stored seed can be sown as early in the year as possible and stratified for 6 weeks at 5°c[2]. It may take 2 years to germinate[2]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Plant out in the summer if the plants are more than 25cm tall, otherwise grow on in a cold frame for the winter and plant out in late spring.

Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July in a shaded frame. Overwinter the plants in the frame and plant out in late spring[12]. High percentage[12]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth. Select pencil thick shoots in early autumn that are about 20 - 25cm long and plant them in a sheltered position outdoors or in a cold frame[12][2]. The cuttings can take 12 months to establish but a high percentage of them normally succeed[12]. Division of suckers in the dormant season. Plant them out direct into their permanent positions.

Layering. Takes 12 months[7].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Rosa virginiana. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Succeeds in most soils, preferring one on the dryish side[7]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a circumneutral soil and a sunny position[2]. Dislikes water-logged soils. Does well in a windy position[7].

Grows well with alliums, parsley, mignonette and lupins[13][14]. Garlic planted nearby can help protect the plant from disease and insect predation[13][14]. Grows badly with boxwood[13]. The flowers are fragrant[8]. The form in cultivation in Britain is very invasive, forming thickets with its suckers, whilst the wild form does not produce suckers[7]. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[11].

Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[2].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Rosa virginiana. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Rosa virginiana.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Rosa virginiana
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
  • Fruit (Unknown use)
  • Leaves (Unknown use)
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
  • Unknown part (Anthelmintic)
  • Unknown part (Cancer)
  • Unknown part (Haemostatic)
  • Unknown part (Ophthalmic)
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Strong wind
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
None listed.
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Flower Colour
Flower Type


  1. ? Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
  2. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  3. ? 3.03.1 Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237. U.S. Depf of Agriculture. ()
  4. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
  5. ? Kavasch. B. Native Harvests. Vintage Books ISBN 0-394-72811-4 (1979-00-00)
  6. ? 6.06.1 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  7. ? Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
  8. ? Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)
  9. ? Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
  10. ? 10.010.1 Matthews. V. The New Plantsman. Volume 1, 1994. Royal Horticultural Society ISBN 1352-4186 (1994-00-00)
  11. ? McMillan-Browse. P. Hardy Woody Plants from Seed. Grower Books ISBN 0-901361-21-6 (1985-00-00)
  12. ? Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
  13. ? Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants. Watkins (1979-00-00)
  14. ? 14.014.1 Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (1978-00-00)
  15. ? Fernald. M. L. Gray's Manual of Botany. American Book Co. (1950-00-00)

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