eglantine rose

In my set of Art of Instruction cards, one on l’églantier, the eglantine rose:

Rosa rubiginosa (Sweet briar or Eglantine Rose; syn. R. eglanteria) is a species of rose native to Europe and western Asia.

It is a dense deciduous shrub 2–3 m high and across, with the stems bearing numerous hooked prickles. The foliage has a strong apple-like fragrance. (Wikipedia link)

(In parts of New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa, it’s a pest plant. Beautiful but invasive.)

The name eglantine is from Middle English eglentyn, from Old French aiglantin (adj.), from aiglent ‘sweetbrier’, from Vulgar Latin *aculentus (with the ending of spinulentus ‘thorny, prickly’), from Latin aculeus ‘prickle’, from acus ‘needle’. Sweet refers to the sweet, apple fragrance of the leaves, while briar ~ brier refers to it being a thorny bush.

In addition to its pink flowers, it is valued for its scent, and the hips that form after the flowers and persist well into the winter. Graham Thomas recommends that it should be planted on the south or west side of the garden so that the fragrance will be brought into the garden on warm, moist winds.

Pretty and wonderfully scented, but prickly, prickly, prickly.

One Response to “eglantine rose”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    “Pest plant, beautiful but invasive” is a pretty good description of the wild roses we have, too, although these are presumably Rosa carolina. (And the “beautiful” part only applies for about 10 days to two weeks in June and July.)

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