Botanical Name: Rosa spp.
Brief Description and Notes: These are the lovely and edible fruits left on the rosebushes after the petals (which are also edible/medicinal) have fallen. The hips taste fruity and tangy rather than floral. They can be harvested as early as autumn, but it’s usually best to wait until after a frost.
There are over 300 species and cultivars of roses; many cultivars do not produce hips.
Where To Look For It: Cultivated gardens, abandoned lots, disturbed woods, fields, forests, wetlands
Ornamental Value: Besides their beautiful blooms during the summer, the fruits of the rose plant remain vibrant and attractive in the landscape through the winter.
Ecological Value & Roles: Winter food source for various birds and mammals; nesting habitat; supports pollinator species, generally
Edibility and Other Human Use: Rosehips are very high in vitamin C, making them a great winter medicinal food/tea. If they are very ripe, they will easily come off of the bush to harvest. Take care to remove seeds and little hairs from the inside of the fruits, especially if you want to crush them up or process into jam. There are various methods to do this, such as sieving through cheesecloth or thoroughly drying, crushing in a food processor, and straining out the hairs which will be finer than the rosehip chunks. Another easy way to get the benefits of rosehips to to infuse them in white wine vinegar for 6 weeks.
Take care also not to forage from cultivated species that may have been treated with pesticides!
Wild Wisdom, Awbury Arboretum, 2020