Rosaceae - Rosa Arvensis

Rosa arvensis: The Fragrant Field Rose

Background and Description: Rosa arvensis, also known as Field Rose or Briar Rose, belongs to the Rosaceae family of plants. It is a thorny shrub that blooms in the summer, producing fragrant single white flowers. Following the flowers, orange-colored rose hips develop later in the season. This versatile plant can be trained as a climber or left to ramble as a shrub, and it can even be used as a ground cover.

Discovery and Publication: Rosa arvensis was first discovered in Europe during the 16th century. Initially believed to be a hybrid of Rosa gallica and Rosa canina, it was later recognized as a distinct species. The French botanist Joseph Pitton de Tournefort published the first description of Rosa arvensis in 1700. Tournefort noted the plant’s single white flowers with a musky fragrance.

Flowers: The flowers of Rosa arvensis are single, white, and emit a musky fragrance. They measure approximately 1 inch in diameter and consist of five petals. The flowers bloom during the summer, adding beauty and scent to the landscape.

Leaves: Rosa arvensis has pinnate leaves composed of five to nine leaflets. The oval-shaped leaflets feature serrated edges and are green in color, transitioning to red hues in the fall.

Cultivation of Rosa arvensis:

Planting: To grow Rosa arvensis, choose a location that receives full sun or partial shade. The plant is adaptable and can thrive in various soil conditions, including poor soil and shade. Ensure the soil is moist and well-drained. Plant Rosa arvensis in the spring or fall by digging a hole twice as wide and deep as the root ball. Backfill the hole with soil and water thoroughly.

Watering: During the first growing season, water Rosa arvensis regularly, especially in dry periods. Once established, it only requires watering during dry spells. Ensure deep watering to reach the roots and avoid wetting the leaves to prevent fungal diseases.

Fertilization: Provide Rosa arvensis with a balanced fertilizer once a year in the spring. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer label for proper application.

Pruning: Rosa arvensis does not demand extensive pruning. In fact, some experts recommend minimal or no pruning for this field rose. If pruning is desired, do so in the spring after the flowers have faded. Remove any dead, diseased, or crossing branches. To promote new growth, consider cutting back the rose by one-third in the spring.

Pests and Diseases: While relatively pest- and disease-free, Rosa arvensis can be susceptible to aphids, spider mites, and powdery mildew. If signs of pests or diseases are observed, take immediate action to treat them.


Mulching around Rosa arvensis provides moisture retention and weed suppression. Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around the base of the rose.

Frost Protection: Rosa arvensis is hardy in USDA zones 4-9. If you reside in a colder climate, protect the rose from frost during winter by covering it with a burlap sack or other protective material.

By following these cultivation guidelines, you can enjoy the beauty and fragrance of Rosa arvensis, a delightful addition to any garden or landscape.

Rosaceae - Rosa Arvensis
White flowers of Briar Rose
Rosa Arvensis
Field Rose at Christchurch Garden, London
Rosa Arvensis - Field Rose
Rosa arvensis or Field Rose

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