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The Best Plants for Rose Hips

Rose hips are the bulbous ends of the stems that remain after the petals have dropped off; these are the fruit of the plant. They are prized for their nutritional value as a significant source of vitamins C, E, B and carotene. Bioflavonoids present in rose hips benefit health are also thought to impart a health benefit. Most wild species of roses produce rose hips; of these, a few varieties are especially well-known for the fruit.

Rosa Canina

Rosa canina, or the dog rose, came by its name from the belief that ingesting the hips could cure rabies. Known among rose hips for having a particularly high concentration of vitamin C, the fruits of these European natives are relatively large, red and oval in shape. A reference excerpt from 1898 describes the taste as "rather pleasant, sweetish, acidulous." Europeans incorporated these rose hips into teas, jams and wine. The Swedes even made soup with them.

Rosa Rugosa

Salt-tolerant, the rosa rugosa is native to coastal areas in Asia, extending from Siberia to Korea; hence one of its secondary names, Japanese Rose. Rugosa is named for its wrinkled (rugose) petals. The orange-red bulbs on these roses look somewhat squashed and tomato-like. The high vitamin C content of these fruits is obvious in their cranberry-like tanginess.

Rosa Moyesii

Western Chinese in origin, the orange-red hips of this plant are very distinctive in shape; reminiscent of ancient clay water jugs. View pictures of the geranium-like flowers and fruits at Flowering Shrub Farm. The Chinese use rose hips in tea and medicines, where they're purported to have a wide variety of healing powers, including boosting the immune system and alleviating urinary tract infections.

Rosa Virginiana

The Virginia Rose hails from the eastern part of the United States. Red, almost perfectly-round hips were first ground in earlier times as a food supplement by Native Americans. Medicinal uses included preparations for colds and muscle aches.

Rosa Majalis

Also, known as the Double Cinnamon Rose, growers bred this plant to enhance the vitamin C content of the bulbs. This variety is native to several states in the Great Lakes region of the United States, according to its USDA plant profile.

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