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A familiar, scrambling beauty that adorns hedgerows with its pale pink flowers. Dog Rose clasps on to other shrubs with curved spines to grow. A thorny climber, Dog Rose has strongly hooked, or curved prickles, to gain a purchase as it weaves in between other shrubs and uses them to support its growth. It can grow up to 3m tall when well supported. Dog rose flowers are an important nectar source for insects and its fruits are a food source for birds such as blackbirds, redwings and waxwings.
The dog rose is a common symbol in medieval heraldry. It has a less regal connotation in Germany where it is linked to the Devil and its fruits were said to be used by fairies to make themselves invisible.
Rose hips are high in vitamin C and were traditionally used to make syrups taken to boost vitamin levels. Rose-hip oil is also a popular skincare product. The hairs inside the hips are an irritant and are extracted to make an itching powder.