Quarryhill Botanical Garden

Advancing the Conservation, Study, and Cultivation of the Flora of Asia

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Featured Plants

Rosa rugosa
Though considered an invasive weed in parts of the eastern United States, Rosa rugosa in its native coastal Asian habitat is endangered due to overdevelopment. It found favor in Britain near the end of the 19th century for its ease of cultivation, relatively long bloom period, hardiness and (bucking the current trend) its single flowers.  Long cultivated in Asia (since 1100, by some accounts), many commercial varieties originated in Japan.

With the common name Ramanas Rose or Sea Tomato, Rosa rugosa is very vigorous and hardy, and is resistant to wind, salt spray, arid conditions and most diseases.  It is often used in hedges and for erosion control.  Regular water and full sun are optimal for culture.  The hips are edible and can be used in preserves.

This deciduous, erect, multi-branching shrub reaches a height of 2 meters in the wild.  Branches are tomentose (closely covered with down or matted hair) with flat, slender, needle-like spines or prickles and glandular bristles.  The glossy, bright green, compound leaves are 5-13 cm long with 5-9 acutely serrated leaflets, each 2-5 cm long and with a rough, rugose (wrinkled or ridged) upper surface due to the reticulate (netted) venation on the underside.  Fragrant flowers, 6-7 cm in diameter, occur in groups of 1-3 on branch terminals with obovate petals of deep reddish-pink to pink to white, May through July.  Yellowish-red to dark red, smooth, succulent hips are compressed-globose in shape, 2-2.5 cm in diameter, and appear August to September.  This rose is native to coastal and sandy-soiled seaside locations below 100 meters elevation in China, Japan, Korea and Russia.