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
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 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