Sweet briar flower. Getty Images

Rosa rubiginosa

Sweet briar

  • Botanical name: Rosa rubiginosa
  • Common name: Sweet briar
  • Family: Rosaceae
  • Plant Type: Shrub, Deciduous
Flower colour:


Foliage colour:


Sweet briar (Rosa rubiginosa) is a shrub rose with prickly stems, fragrant foliage, and single, pink flowers, followed by red hips. The name sweet briar means “fragrant thorn”. It’s also known as the Eglantine rose.


Similar to, and often mistaken for dog rose (Rosa canina), sweet briar has sweet, almost apple-scented foliage, particularly after rain. Native to the UK, it’s a common hedgerow plant. However, it’s naturalised in North America, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, where it’s considered an invasive plant and is banned from sale.


Growing sweet briar

Sweet briar’s dense, prickly habit makes it perfect for using against a boundary, and it’s also suitable for using as part of a mixed wildlife hedge. It can grow in a variety of locations, including coastal regions. Plant in moist but well-drained soil.

Advice on buying sweet briar

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  • Sweet briar is available to buy as bareroot hedging plants from November to March, or as potted plants throughout the year
  • Choose hedging whips if planting sweet briar as a hedge, or buy pot-growing plants if growing as a shrub
  • Always check plants for signs of disease or damage before planting

Where to buy sweet briar

How to grow Rosa rubiginosa

  • Plant size

    2.5m height

    2.5m spread

Rosa rubiginosa and wildlife

Rosa rubiginosa is known for attracting bees, beneficial insects, birds, butterflies​/​moths and other pollinators. It is a caterpillar food plant, has nectar/pollen rich flowers, provides shelter and habitat, has seeds for birds and makes a good wildlife hedge.

Attractive to Bees

Attractive to Beneficial insects

Attractive to Birds

Attractive to Butterflies​/​Moths

Attractive to Other pollinators

Is Rosa rubiginosa poisonous?

Rosa rubiginosa has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:

No reported toxicity to Birds

No reported toxicity to Cats

No reported toxicity to Dogs

No reported toxicity to Horses

No reported toxicity to Livestock

No reported toxicity to People