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wild dog rose - rosa canina - flower

Rose, wild, dog, Rosa canina

Today I am writing about my favourite flower: the rose. I love roses, the way they look, their colours, scent, taste. Most roses you encounter today are cultivated, hybrid specimens. These often look a bit, let us say, more complicated. More leaves, deeper and sometimes downright mindboggling colours, but often less fragrant as well. In that respect, this chapter’s plant, the dog rose, Rosa canina, remains my favourite of favourites. Dog rose can simply intoxicate you with its wonderful scent.

Medicinal properties of dog rose, Rosa canina

Dog rose is more than a pretty face. It has many medicinal properties. Internally, this plant strengthens your immune system and helps you get over your fatigue. It helps you recover from numerous inflammatory processes and even improves your digestion.
Dog rose is famous for the vitamin C content of its fruits, which we know as rosehips. Many of us Dutchies grew up with Roosvicee, a syrup made from those rosehips. Externally, dog rose is often used on wounds and of course in cosmetics.

Magical properties of Rosa canina

When we talk about the magical properties of roses, it will probably come as no surprise to anyone that dog rose is used in love magic. Even nowadays, roses are the standard flowers to give to your loved one. Divination is another beloved magical purpose of these wild roses. Use rose petals in healing mixes to give the whole thing more power. Those same leaves will bring you luck as well.

Botanical description Dog rose, Rosa canina

Dog rose is a shrub that can grow up to five metres high. It has long branches that hang down in arcs. The branches are green, sometimes reddish, and have large, hooked spines with a broad base that you better take into account.
The leaves are medium green, petiolate, odd-pinnate and consist of five to seven ovate leaflets with an acute apex and a serrated margin. There are often small spines on the petiole.
The flowers are large, about 3 to over 4 cm in diameter, white to pink in colour. They sometimes grow alone, sometimes with up to ten flowers together. The flowers have five petals and many yellow stamens. After flowering, the false fruits, called rosehips, develop. When ripe, they are red in colour, oval to ovoid, up to 2.5 cm long and up to 2 cm wide. The rosehip contains achenes containing the seeds.

Interesting facts

There is so much to tell about roses that it is impossible to cover everything. I have therefore chosen a number of interesting facts.
Roses have been cultivated for their beauty for thousands of years and eaten for just as long. Remnants of rosehips have been found in prehistoric stomach contents and storage jars.
Hybrid species have not been cultivated for that long. This practice only started sometime in the 18th century. Until then, people stuck to wild rose varieties.
In ancient times, just about every mythological tradition had some sort of involvement with roses. This is especially true for Romans and Greeks, but Indians, Egyptians and Germanic peoples also mention roses in their stories.
Christianity has attempted to demonise the rose because of its pagan past. As we can tell, those attempts did not come to fruition. They ended up embracing the plant and its flower with its five petals came to symbolise the wounds of Christ. Today, the flower symbolises, among other things, martyr’s blood and is an attribute of both Mary and Saint Therese of Lieux. But you could actually write a whole book about the symbolism of roses in Christianity.
Rosehips were used against scurvy.
A red rose in a clenched fist is a global symbol for the socialist movement.
Roses symbolise love, joy and beauty and are probably the most commonly used flowers in poetry and perhaps also in prose.
Roses are associated with both transience and resurrection and have therefore been popular in funerary rites since time immemorial.

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