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Rosa rugosa is native to northern China, Korea and Japan. It is a bristly, prickly, sprawling, suckering shrub rose that typically grows in a rounded form to 4-6' tall and as wide. Unless restrained, it will over time spread by suckers to form dense thickets. Odd-pinnate dark green leaves (each with 5-9 leaflets) turn yellow (sometimes a quality orange-red) in fall. Each leaflet (to 2" long) has pronounced veins, a wrinkled appearance, serrated edges and downy undersides. Fragrant flowers are rose pink to white (to 3 1/4" across). Flowers are primarily single (5 petals), but are semi-double or double in some varieties and hybrid cultivars. Flowers appear singly or in clusters. Flowers primarily bloom from late May to July, with some additional scattered bloom to early fall. Flowers are followed by fleshy, edible (with some bitterness), tomato-shaped hips (to 1" diameter) which appear green but ripen to bright red by late summer and persist on the shrub until late fall sometimes extending into winter. Hips are used to make jams and jellies (rose hip jam). Deadheading spent flowers may encourage rebloom, but at the cost of preventing rose hip development. Stems are covered with abundant sharp thorns, making this an excellent impenetrable hedge. Ability to thrive in sandy seashore habitats combined with tomato-shaped hips led to the additional common names of beach tomato and sea tomato for this shrub. Because of its tolerance for salt and sand, this rose has been planted along ocean shores to help stabilize beaches/control beach erosion. Many varieties and hybrid cultivars (single to double flowers in colors of pink, purple or white) have been developed.
Genus name comes from the Latin name for rose.
Specific epithet means wrinkled in reference to the appearance of the foliage.
'Alba' is a white sport of R. rugosa. It is a dense, upright, rounded shrub which typically grows 4-6' tall and 3-5' wide. Features fragrant, pure white, single flowers (to 3.5" across). Blooms profusely from late spring to late summer. Glossy, leathery, dark green foliage turns attractive shades of yellow, orange and red in fall.
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