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© S. Vanderhoeven
© M. Halford
© E. Branquart

Invaded site

© Kollmann
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Rosa rugosa


Common name: Rugosa rose
Origin: Easthern Asia
Plant type: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Code of conduct: Annex II
Invasive status (ISEIA protocol): Black list
Main ornemental function: Cover ground • Ornamental shrub


Small shrub from 2 to 3 m tall. The surface of the leaves is wrinkled, the twigs are covered with thin, straight sharp spines of various sizes. The fruits, called rose hips, are deep red and ripen in late summer. Big flowers white or light to dark pink coloured depending on the cultivar.


The plant reproduces sexually by seeds and vegetatively (rhizomes, stem layering, sprouting). Seeds are transported by wind, water (seas) and animals. Attractive fruits for animals (i.e. birds). Seeds dispersed by resident birds may not be transported far away from the seed source in contrary by seed transport by migratory birds. Seeds in the soil can remain viable for several years. High ability of lateral expansion by rhizomes. In Denmark, R. rugosa has spread from a few clones to a more or less contiguous area of 3,5 ha in less than 50 years.


Rosa rugosa colonizes coastal dunes, dune grassland and riparian zones. Occurs in sandy or gravelly soils. It shows a preference to open, fresh or dry habitats. It can colonize acid and basic soils and is able to invade nutrient-poor habitats. Frequently planted along roads.


Species classified A3 in Belgium. Rosa rugosa forms extensive impenetrable thickets due to lateral expansion by rhizomes. Impact on rare and native flora in dunes is well documented. Thickets of R. Rugosa alter the botanical composition of high conservation value habitats. Highly invasive in the British Isles, Germany, Denmark, and other Northern and Central Europe countries, mainly along the coasts. In Belgium, dunes are colonised by of R. rugosa. For more information, click here


(1) Avoid planting this species near coastal dunes and sandy grasslands, especially in the vicinity of protected areas (natural reserves, Natura 2000 sites, etc.) ; (2) cut the flowers at the end of flowering and before fructification in order to avoid seed dispersal ; (3) put a rhizome barrier in order to limit lateral expansion.

Possible native alternatives

Main ornemental function

Cover ground
Ornamental shrub

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