Fruiting Rose (Ramanas Rose)

(Rosa rugosa)

Fruiting Rose fruit
Fruiting Rose fruit (rose hips)

Cultivar tested

‘Jubilee’

Description and site preference

Type and size – suckering shrub up to 6 feet with short prickles
Hardiness zone – 3-9
Exposure – best in full sun
Soil – tolerates a wide range of types
Drainage – well-drained

Economic factors

Years to harvest – 2-3
Maintenance – minimal (control suckers by mowing)
Life of planting – 20+ years
Machine harvest potential –intermediate
Suitable markets – processed for teas, jams, jellies

Fruiting Rose plants
Fruiting Rose in late spring, after pruning

Notable features

Nutritional characteristics – rose hips are high in vitamin C and a good source of vitamins A and E.
Adaptability – very adaptable (pioneering plant)
Pest issues – none observed
Invasive potential – low at Carandale Farm, but could be invasive in some habitats
Environmental benefits – continuous bloom could attract and support beneficial insects (especially pollinators)

Integration characteristics

Shared management – low, but little is needed
Shared equipment – medium, same as most hedgerow crops
Shared processing – low, specialized processes may be required
Co-marketing – medium to high, similar to other processed fruit products

Integration potential – conditional

Could be considered based on its insectary potential, but economic potential and potential to become a weed species should be evaluated on a cultivar- and site-specific basis.

History and background

This species was included in the Carandale test plot to observe fruiting potential and value as an insectory plant. Fruiting rose is widely distributed and extremely adaptable. Its native range is eastern Asia, but it has been naturalized throughout the northern hemisphere. It is extremely tolerant of seaside salt spray and storms, commonly being one of the first perennial plants to colonize the coast. Its salt tolerance makes it useful for planting beside roads where salt is used regularly for de-icing.

Fruiting rose is a pioneering plant considered invasive in some habitats, particularly along sea shores in northern Europe where it out-competes other flora and reduces diversity. Rugosa likes full sun and will tolerate partial shade, but cannot compete in a woodland environment.

The fruit is high in vitamin C and can be made into teas, jams and jellies (USDA). Fruiting rose is being investigated as a food capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and halting or reversing the growth of cancers (Yoshizawa et al., 2000).

Observations at Carandale Farm

Carandale observations are based on one cultivar purchased from Northwoods Nursery (see One Green World) in 2003. ‘Jubilee’ is a Russian selection that was supposed to be self-fertile and produce large, bright red fruit high in vitamin C with a thick and tasty flesh.

  • Plants were easy to establish and vigorous.
  • They appear to be virtually disease and pest free.
  • In Caradale’s heavier soils, this species does not appear to be an invasive threat. It has spread some by root suckering over 10 years, but this has been controlled by mowing.
  • Fruiting Rose continues to flower June through August, which should make it a very good insectory plant, attracting and providing habitat for pollinators and other beneficial insects.
  • Flowering starts late enough to avoid freeze damage.
  • Fruit set has been poor. Fruiting Rose should be self-fertile. Carandale does not have an explanation for the lack of fruiting. It could be the cultivar or the site.

Discussion

Fruiting Rose is so named because it is supposed to have a proliferation of large and meaty rose hips. Carandale has observed how fruitful they can be at other locations but has not experienced this at their site. One unlikely possibility is that it is nutrient related. It could also be a cultivar issue, which could be tested by planting another cultivar. Although literature indicates otherwise, it appears not to be self-fertile. Planting another cultivar for cross pollination would also resolve a fertility issue.

The fruit could have possibilities for commercial production, but there are a hurdles for making it economically sustainable. Growers would need consistent productivity as well as cost-efficient harvesting and processing. Fruiting rose could be harvested mechanically with a universal harvester, but it will probably require specialized processing equipment.

Even if it is not economically sustainable as a stand-alone crop, fruiting rose may still be profitable as part of a diverse planting system due to its ability to attract and support beneficial insects that could increase yield and lower maintenance costs of companion crops.

References

Wikipedia entry on Fruiting Rose

Plants for a Future information on Fruiting Rose

Growing and Caring for Rugosa Rose,” by Marie Iannotti

USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Rose Hips

USDA-NRCS Plant Fact Sheet: Rugosa Rose

Yoshizawa, Y, S Kawaii, M Urashima, T Fukase, T Sato, R Tanaka, N Murofushi, H Nishimura. 2000. Antiproliferative effects of small fruit juices on several cancer cell lines. Anticancer Res. 20(6B):4285-9. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11205259>, accessed 6/27/13.

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