Beach Rose – Rosa rugosa

Beach rose- Rugosa rose is a popular flower in Finland and Europe. You can find them almost everywhere in Finland, in the park, forest, and of course near the beaches. However, beach roses are invasive plants and threaten the native plants. It is very difficult to remove them because they have strong stems with a lot of thorns, and grow very fast. I love beach roses and I use them for many dishes and drinks. Whenever I find them I will I can use them for many things from tea, dessert, and wine. I will try to collect and use them carefully before the government removes all of them. You can collect fresh flowers to make rose tea, green leaves to use as tea, rose hips to make jam and wine. Rose hips have a high amount of vitamin C and suitable fruits to make wines after the grapes. 

Invasive rose beach history

The beach rose (Rugosa rose) was first introduced into England from Japan in 1796, and then in Germany in 1845. In 1875, Rosa rugosa was found in Denmark and then in Sweden in 1918. By 2001, the flower species had spread to 61  European countries. Although in their China hometown, they have been labeled as an endangered species due to a noticeable high decline in population rates of the flower.The beach rose can be spread by birds and animals when they eat the berries from the bush. In the old time people bought the rose and took it with them overseas. 

The beach rose is a salt-tolerant plant, very strong and can  resist the diseases of rose rush and rose dark spots. The beach rose is very easy to grow in large numbers and does not need so much maintenance. People choose the beach rose to grow in because it is extremely tolerant of seaside salt spray and storms. It is widely used in land cape, being relatively tough and trouble-free. 

Edible and useful beach rose flower

Beach roses have flowers from summer to late autumn. I collect fresh roses from May to October to make rose tea. Fresh rose tea has a very light fragrant smell, smooth and beautiful feeling. You can also mix rose buds with other flowers like cloves, chamomile, pineapple weed, dandelion, and yarrow flowers. This summer tea is beautiful and very healthy too.

Sweet smelling beach rose flowers is two to three inches in diameter- They bloom for all summer long and until early autumn. Flowers can be white, pink or purple with yellow stamens in the center. In Chinese medicine rose flower is used to treat irregular menstruation and gastritis. People also use the flower to make jam and dessert in China. 

Dried beach rose flower tea

I always collect and dry beach roses by myself. They charge 160e for 1 kg of dried rose tea in tea shops for importing roses. I think my tea is fresher and has a better flavour than what they sell in the shop. I think it is not a bad idea to collect and make your own rose tea. You just collect them in the morning and not after the rain. Check if they have some bugs inside or not then keep them in the clean and dry place. Leave them there for 3 or 4 days until you feel that they are ready. Keep them in a clean glass jar.

I always sterilize the jar before I put the dried rose there in case they can get some mold or bad bacterias. Beach roses have a lot of flowers so it is not so difficult to collect rose buds on the same day. Remember to collect it in the morning and before the rain. The rain can reduce the rose fragrance and make the drying process longer or has some unwanted bacteria. 

Beach Rose hips

Rosa rugosa hips are edible 2-3 cm diameter. Autumn is the best time to collect rose hips for jam, dessert, and making wine. You can find both flowers and fruit in late autumn and early autumn. The beach rose hips have a high amount of vitamin C and many minerals too. You can pick them and make jam or free them for winter time.

Rose beach hips or fake rose fruits

I always collect fresh fruits, remove the seeds and put them in sugar for 3 or 4 days. It takes 3-4 hours to remove seeds in 3 kg of fruits but you can use all of them. After that I press all the water and sugar to make rose hips wine. I do not throw the remains away, I keep them in the fridge. Then I use the rose hips melted in sugar with porridge, ice cream, or make smoothies. Beach rose have a lot of fruits and it is very easy to collect them. You can collect 2-3 kg in one hours or more if you find the big and clean bushes. 

Notice when picking beach rose hips

Beach roses are an invasive plant in Europe so do not spread them into the forest or beach. You can put the seed into the burning trash and do not put it in the bio waste. The seeds can last very long in harsh conditions. In the experiment by Jessen 1958 they found that the rose hip can float up to 40 weeks in both freshwater and seawater. The seeds can float by themselves for several weeks as the special tissues in the cell walls of the seeds. For that reason when you collect the rose hips need to be carefully when removing the seeds. I always throw the seed into burning waste, not bio. You can keep the seed for several days before putting it into the burning waste to make sure too.

Collecting beach rose hips is a good way to stop spreading the rose hips too. The bird and other animals can consume the fruit and spread it to the forest or faraway island when they miplaces too.  In Norway, Finland and Denmark they still can find beach roses on uninhabited isolated islands where human dispersal is unlikely (Fremstad 1997, Jessen 1968, Kurtto and Helynranta 1998).

Seeds dispersed by resident birds may not be transported far from the seed source, but this mode of dispersal could be important in explaining local transport. In Finland the fruits ripen just at the time when most of the migration birds start moving southwards. Birds eat the fruits in coastal areas and carry the seeds to the distant islands where they rest before flying over the sea.

Beach rose leaves

White rose beach flowers with green leaves

Beach rose leaves are dark green and heavily veined, with serrated edges. You can brew fresh young rose leaves in 8 minutes like tea. 

Rose beach stems:

Beach rose stem with full thorns

Beach rose’s stems are covered with many straight, spiny thorns. You can not do anything with stem but they still look quite outstanding in the winter time especially with big and tall bushes.

I love beach rose- Rosa rugosa as they are beautiful, healthy, and useful. I will grow them if I have my own land and try not to spread it into the environment. Finland is try to remove all of them in 2023 or little later but I think this plant is very healthy and useful plants. We still can use it for tea, foods, drinks but also remember to use them in consciously way to protect native plants. What do you think about the beach rose? Do you like it or hate it? Share with me what can you do with them too.

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