Wild Roses

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Wild Roses


(in Russian, shipovnik), species of wild plants of the family Rosaceae. The plants are usually erect shrubs; there are some arboreal forms of medium height and some almost herbaceous plants. Lianas are rare. The stems and branches usually have thorns. The leaves are usually deciduous and odd-pinnate with paired adnate stipules. Very rarely are the leaves simple and exstipulate. The flowers most frequently are not double, but occasionally they are double to some degree. The inflorescences are corymbose or corymbose-paniculate; the flowers are solitary or, sometimes, in pairs or larger groups. Wild roses occur in the northern hemisphere, mainly in temperate and subtropical regions and in the mountains of the tropics. The plants grow in forest and steppe zones, reaching the alpine belt in the mountains. They usually occur on the edges of forests, in shrubby thickets, along rivers and streams, on damp and steppe meadows, and on slopes and rocky placers.

There are about 350 to 400 species (according to other data, 100 to 250), including 250 (according to other data, 60 to 150) in the USSR. Many species are endemics. Wild roses are a valuable source of vitamins. The fruits of some species accumulate large quantities of vitamin C, together with other vitamins. Particularly large quantities of vitamin C are found in the cinnamon rose (Rosa cinnamomea), the prickly rose (R. acicularis), and the Japanese R. rugosa. Wild roses are used extensively as ornamental hedges and as stock for cultivated roses. The fruit is used as a food in fresh, dry, or canned form.

The dried ripe fruits of various species are used medicinally as raw materials for vitamins. The pulp is used in tincture, syrup, candy, or lozenge form mainly for treating vitamin deficiencies. An oil extract and oil are used externally to treat trophic ulcers and some disorders of the skin and mucous membranes. Kholosas, a cholagogous substance, is made from a concentrated water extract of the fruits of Rosa canina.


Iuzepchuk, S. V. “Roza (shipovnik).” In Flora SSSR, vol. 10. Moscow-Leningrad, 1941.
Khrzhanovskii, V. G. Rozy: Filogeniia i sistematika. Moscow, 1958.
Saakov, S. G., and D. A. Rieksta. Rozy. Riga, 1973.
Klášterský, I. “Rosa L.” In Flora Europaea, vol. 2. Cambridge, 1968.


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