Rugosa Roses
(and their hybrids)
Roseraie de L'Hay
One of the best Rugosa Roses,
Source: David Austin
Rugosa rosa is native from Japan, northern China and Korea where it was grown as a garden shrub before in was imported to Britain. The Japanese name is ハマナス(hamanasu), meaning "shore pear". Rugosa roses are also known in the West as Japanese Roses.


The exact date at which it first appeared in Britain remains unclear, but it is thought to have been introduced by the rose breeders Lee and Kennedy of Hammersmith in 1796.

The Rugosas are very different from the roses of the West, not only in appearance, but also, it seems, in character, which is indeed very Oriental.

Flora Japonica
Rosa Rugosa
Rugosa roses form very vigorous and sturdy shrubs with large, purple-rose colored flowers, strong thorns and rough-textured foliage. The slightly scented flowers are followed by giant tomato-shaped hips.
Blanc Double de Coubert
1892, Cochet-Cochet, France
One of the most popular of the Hybrid Rugosas.
Very frequent and recurrent blooms.
Pink Grootendorst
A wonderful rugosa hybrid
and an excellent ground-cover rose, which occured as a sport of 'F.J. Grootendorst'.
Raised by Grootendorst in 1923
An unusual trait of these wild roses is their ability to repeat their flowering throughout the summer. It is not uncommon to see ripe hips along with the last blooms on the same branch later in the season.

Rugosa roses are valued by rose breeders and widely used in landscaping, being relatively hardy and resistant to diseases, such as rose rust and black spot. They are also extremely tolerant of seaside salt spray and storms, commonly being the first shrub in from the coast (hence, their many common names such as 'beach roses' and 'saltspray roses'). Rosa Rugosa is endangered as a wild plant in its home country China.


As an oriental wild rose, rugosas are far removed form the roses from the West and so their offspring does not always produce the expected results. It seems the hybrid almost always leans either towards the Rugosa side of the parentage, or towards the other side, but never in the middle. Problems usually occur when the hybrid leans towards the non-rugosa side of the parentage, producing rather clumsy specimens.

Rugosas are ideal for hedges or barriers, as they are quite impenetrable and grow on poor soil. They need little pruning, only thinning and removal of old and weak wood.

Popular Rugosas and Hybrid Rugosas

Rugosa Roses are a nice addition in any rose garden.
Here are some of the best Rugosas and Rugosa hybrids from which to choose:
Unless otherwise specified photos on this page © Alessandro Carocci Buzi and Lilly's Rose Garden.
Photo of Rugosa Hips © Simon Garbutt.
The Pink Grootendorst, Flora Japonica and Roseraie de l'Hay roses stem from © Kurt Stüber.
Roseraie de l'Hay
Considred one of the best Rugosa Roses, this Rugosa rose was raised by Jules Gravereaux in 1910, and named after the rose garden created by him just south of Paris.
Sarah Van Fleet,
raised by Dr. W. van Fleet in 1926
Continuously flowering through summer and autumn
One of the best Rugosa Hybrids
Source: David Austin
Tomato-like hips of Rugosa Rose
Rugosa Hybrid Grootendorst Supreme
1918, Grootendorst, Holland
Lilly's Rose Garden - Ideas for planning and designing your Rose Garden
The Rose in Literature
Botany of Roses
Roses around the World
Recommended Reading
Rosa Rugosa
by Suzanne Verrier (Author),
Charles Steinhacker (Photographer)

More information:
Roses. Old Roses and Species Roses
Old Roses and Species Roses
by Paul Starosta (Author), Eleonore Cruse (Author)

More information: