Weed Identification

Australia > > Sweet Briar

Sweet Briar

Rosa rubiginosa

Alternative Name(s): Briar Rose.

Family: Rosaceae.

Form: Shrub

Origin: Native of Europe and western Asia.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers: 13 together, each 24 cm wide, fragrant. Flowers mainly late spring to summer.

Description: Scrambling or erect deciduous shrub to 3 (rarely to 5) m high. Rootstock shallow, perennial, suckers if disturbed. Stems with prickles, mixed with glandular hairs. Leaves usually comprise 59 leaflets that are ovate to obovate, mostly 13.5 cm long and 12.5 cm wide with toothed margins. Leaves give off a sweet apple-like fragrance when crushed. Fruit (hip) green at first drying yellow then reddish, ovoid to globe-shaped, 1.52 cm long. Seeds numerous, 47 mm long, yellowish.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by stems smooth when young and rough-barked when mature with prickles that are unequal in size; flower stalk with glandular hairs and fine prickles; glandular hairs on lower leaf surface; petals pink to pale pink.

Dispersal: Spread by seeds, mostly by birds, foxes and water.

Confused With: Other Rosa species, see taxonomic texts for detailed distinguishing features.

Flowers, hip and toothed leaflets, Nov

Notes: Seeds germinate in warmer months on disturbed land. Introduced as a garden, hedge and food plant in the early 1800s. Plants reach maturity slowly, flowering at about 3 years of age. Over a long period of time infestations can cover thousands of hectares, reducing grazing potential and harbouring feral animals. Major weed in some localities, especially on hilly, well drained, disturbed or poorly managed land.


    Reference: Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 572575.

Erect shrub
Eucumbene, NSW, April

Infestation near Jiugellic, NSW

Fruit & seeds

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card S24

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.


Australia > > Sweet Briar


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