florida Early Detection Network


Rugosa rose, Japanese rose, Beach rose


Rosa rugosa Thunb.


Rose family


Rosa rugosa



Hip close-up


White Flower



Synonyms: None.


Botanical Glossary

Rosa rugosa is a perennial shrub that can reach 1-2 m (3-6.5 ft.) in height. The stems of this plant have many prickles. They are green when young and turn brown with age. The prickles below the stipules are larger and decurved. The younger parts of the stem, younger prickles and the bases of the prickles are densely tomentose. The leathery leaves are pinnately compound with 7-9 leaflets per leaf (rarely 5). The leaflets are ovate to elliptic in shape, have dentate margins and are 2.5-5 cm (1-2 in.) in length. The leaflets are dark green and wrinkled (rugose) on the upper surface and pubescent on the lower surface. The fragrant flowers appear June to August in clusters or singly. They are usually rose or white in color, though there are many different colored cultivars. The flowers can be single or double (in some cultivars), and measure up to 5 cm (2 in.) across. The hips are depressed-globose in shape, red or orange in color and quite large, being 2-3 cm (1 in.) in diameter. Five persistent, erect sepals are found on the hips. They ripen in late summer, but may shrivel and persist into the winter. Page References Bailey 533, Fernald 872, Gleason & Cronquist 257, Holmgren 238, Magee & Ahles 601, Newcomb 316, Peterson & McKenny 2,256, Seymour 340. See reference section below for full citations.


Rosa spp. Other Rosa species lack the leathery leaves of Rosa rugosa. These other rose species also have smaller flowers and hips.


Rosa rugosa reproduces by means of its large rose hips, which contain many seeds. The hips are likely dispersed by water or by small animals, such as raccoons.


Rosa rugosa is native to Japan, China and Korea. In the United States it is found from Maine to Virginia and west to Minnesota and Missouri, as well as in the state of Washington. This plant has been reported from all New England states.


Rosa rugosa was introduced into cultivation in Europe around 1770. It has been in the United States long enough that many feel that it is native to the shores of New England. While the actual date of introduction is not known, it was reported from a Nantucket roadside away from cultivation in 1899. By 1911 this plant was described as "straying rapidly." In 1920, Rosa rugosa was quite well established on Nantucket as well as in Connecticut. It was commonly planted as an ornamental along highways because of its high salt-tolerance, contributing additional points of introduction.


Coastal Beach or Dune, Edge, Open Disturbed Area, Roadside, Vacant Lot, Yard or Garden. Rosa rugosa can be found in many different cultivated settings, and naturalized on beaches.


Rosa rugosa can be found in dense stands on the upper limit of beaches, dunes and coastal headlands. The large stands that it creates on the beach can impede the growth of native plants.


Documentation required: A photograph of the leaves and flowers or fruits. Best time for documentation: Summer, fall.


Integrated Taxonomic Information System Taxonomic information

The PLANTS Database General information and a map

University of Connecticut Plant Database General information and many photographs

Virginia Tech Dendrology Description and photographs


Bailey, L.H. 1949. Manual of Cultivated Plants. Macmillan, New York.

Bicknell, E.P. 1911. The ferns and flowering plants of Nantucket VIII. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 38(10): 447-460.

Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's Manual of Botany 8th ed. American Book Co., Boston.

Gleason, H.A. and A.C. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of the Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

Holmgren, N.H. 1998. Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

Magee, D.W and H.E. Ahles. 1999. Flora of the Northeast. University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst.

Newcomb, N. 1977. Newcomb's Wildflower Guide. Little Brown, Boston.

Peterson, R.T. and M. McKenny. 1968. A field Guide to Wildflowers of Northeastern and North-central North America. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.

Rehder, A. 1940. Manual of Cultivated Trees and Shrubs, 2nd ed. MacMillan Publishing Company, New York.

Rydberg, P.A. 1920. Notes on Rosaceae XII. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 47(2): 45-66.

Seymour, F.C. 1969. The Flora of New England. Charles E. Tuttle Company, Inc., Tokyo, Japan.

Ueda, Y., S. Nishihara, H. Tomita and Y. Oda. 2000. Photosynthetic response of Japanese rose species Rosa bracteata and Rosa rugosa to temperature and light. Scientia Horticulturae 84 (3-4): 365-371.

USDA, NRCS. 2001. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1. (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.