Hedgerows, rough grass, scrub. A thorny plant with arching stems up to 3 m (10 ft) high. Leaves: pairs of toothed leaflets. Flowers: pink of white, June-July. Fruit: orange-red, oblong, up to 2.5 cm (1 in), late Aug-Nov
The fruit of the wild rose, the hip, is the star of one of the great success stories of wild food use. It is the only completely wilf fruit which supports a national commercial enterprise - the production of rosehip syrup.
Rosehips had been used as a food for centuries, but it was not until the Second World War, when supplies of citrus fruits were virtually cut off, that the potential of rosehips as a source of Vitamin C were taken seriously. Rosehips had been found to contain twenty times the amount of Vitamin C in oranges.
The hips are on the bushes between late August and November.
Rosehip syrup can be used as a flavouring for milk, puddings, ice cream or almost any sweet, or diluted as a drink, and making it is the simplest way of filtering out the prickly seed, which can be a dangerous internal irritant.
Wartime Ministry of Food recipe foor 1 kg (2 lb)
Have ready 1.5 litres of boiling water, mince the hips in a coarse mincer, drop immediately into the boiling water of if possible mince the hips directly into the boiling water and again bring to the boil. Stop heating and place aside for 15 minutes. Pour into a flannel of linen crash jelly bag and allow to drip until the bulk of the liquid has come through. Return the residue to the saucepan, add 750 ml of boiling water, stir and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Pour back into the jelly bag and allow to drop. To make sure all the sharp hairs are removed, put back the first half cupful of liquid and allow to drip through again. Put the mixed juice into a clean saucepan and boil down until the juice measures about 750 ml, then add 900 g of sugar and boil for a further 5 minutes. Pour into hot sterile bottles and seal at once. If corks are used these should have been boiled for 15 minutes just previously and after insertion coated with melted paraffin wax. It is advisable to use small bottles as the syrup will not keep for more than a week or two once the bottle is opened.