What are Rose Hips?

Facts about Rose Hips, and How to Use Them

Rose HipsRose Hips

What are Rose Hips?

Rose hips are formed on the rose bush after flowering. They are a hollow shell, enclosed by a bunch of hairy seeds, each of which is an achene, the true fruit of the rose.

Once a rose that has flowered, becomes pollinated ( either by pollen from another rose, or by it's own pollen), the ovary swells and the seed bearing Hip is formed.

What are Rose Hips...

Also called a 'Hep'

~Depending on the variety of rose, the hips can vary greatly. They can be large and look like small crab apples, or can be long and narrow looking. Some are rather tiny in size.

~They come in colors ranging from red, pink,yellow, orange, or even dark purple.

~Because the rose requires pollination to produce the rose hips, ones with open face flowers have a better chance of being pollinated by bees and other insects.

~They are very high in vitamin C, as well as other vitamins.

~They vary from being fleshy to quite dry inside

~They are very attractive in the winter landscape

~They are a favorite food for Birds

All summer long gardeners take care to prevent them from forming on their rose bushes, in favor of the bush making more flowers, but come Fall when the weather turns colder, they stop deadheading the bushes and allow the seed pods (Hips) to form on the bush.

Wild roses and their Rugosa hybrids produce a profusion of hips that range in size form pea-sized hips to globes that resemble cherry tomatoes in size.

To add to the beauty of the colorful hips, you will often see tinted red or gold colored foliage on the bush.

If you live in a warmer climate your rose will have to be grown in a lightly shaded spot, or the hot sun will scorch any hips produced.

Bush of Rose HipsMy Pauls Himyalian Rose Bush Loaded with Hips

The colorful rose hips add color to the garden as winter approaches. They are not only a thing of beauty, but they have a practical value as well. They are a natural food source for the wild birds.

You can leave them on the bush for the feathered friends of the garden to enjoy; or you can pick some and enjoy them yourself!

You should not eat rose hips from plants that were or (may have been)....treated with chemicals for insect or disease control!

Meaning: Only eat hips from your own Organically Grown roses!

These residues cannot be washed off, and are hazardous to your health!

Some Favorite Uses for Rose Hips

I am often asked 'What are rose hips used for?'

Here are a few recipes to try....

You can prepare the hips by;

*Picking ripe hips, (Don't use them green, wait until they have turned the bright red, orange, or what ever color they will become)

Mine turn a nice red (or) orange color in late Fall after a frost or two.

*Washing them, removing both ends, cut them in half and scrape out the hairy seeds (The seeds can cause digestion problems, as well as allergic reactions in some people)

See the full recipe, plus a couple more including the proper way to prepare the hips for cooking. Here

The prepared hips are then cooked and made into a puree that can become Jam ( the Victorians favored it with Venison), or Rose Hip Syrup, Rose Hip Honey, Rose Hip Soup, Rose Hip Sauce, Rose Hip Jelly, and even flavorful (and healthy) Rose Hip Tea.


Don't stop with using the rose hips in recipes.....Pick some for natural bouquets and flower arrangements. (I suggest removing most of the thorns from these). They last surprising well in water.

I hope I've answered the question "What are Rose Hips", and I hope you will continue to enjoy the many pages of this site! Thanks for visiting!

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