A very ornamental plant, the flowers have a clove-like perfume. 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.
Prefers a light well-drained soil but succeeds in most soils including dry ones. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a circumneutral soil and a sunny position. Dislikes water-logged soils. Tolerates maritime exposure.
Grows well with alliums, parsley, mignonette and lupins. Garlic planted nearby can help protect the plant from disease and insect predation.
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. 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.
Sow as early in the year as possible and stratify for 6 weeks at 5°c. 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.
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.
Fruit - raw or cooked. They are very sweet and pleasant to eat, though it takes quite a bit of patience to eat any quantity. The fruit is a fairly large size for a rose with a relatively thick layer of flesh. The fruit is about 25mm in diameter. Rich in vitamin C, containing up to 2.75% dry weight.
Flowers - raw or cooked. An aromatic flavour, they are also used in jellies and preserves. Remove the bitter white base of the petals before using them.
Young shoots - cooked and used as a potherb. Harvested as they come through the ground in spring and are still tender.
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. Be sure to remove the seed hairs.
A pleasant tasting fruity-flavoured tea is made from the fruit, it is rich in vitamin C. A tea is also made from the leaves