Time of bloom: June to July.
Seed-time: Hips ripe in September but remain on the bushes until winter.
Range: Nova Scotia to Ontario and Michigan, southward to Virginia and Tennessee.
Every pure pink blossom and fragrant leaf of this plant seem a protest against its being called a weed. It came to us from Europe, and the pages of Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, are full of its sweetness. But,
"With brambles and bushes in pasture too full, Poore sheepe be in danger and loseth their wull," and cattle will not touch it nor even graze very near it, fearing the hooked prickers and apparently not liking its fragrance. (Fig. 155.)
Canes slender, four to eight feet high, brown when old, armed with strong, flattened, hooked, brown prickles; between them the stem may be smooth, or, when young, may be set with fine bristly hairs. Leaves alternate, pin-nately compound, with five to seven roundish oval leaflets, rather thick, finely double-toothed, dark green and smooth above, but covered underneath with fine, soft hair and resinous, rust-colored glands that show very plainly under a lens; the broad stipules are also glandular. Flowers pink, not fragrant, usually about two inches broad, the five petals notched into a heart-shape at the outer edge, with a tuft of many yellow stamens in the center; calyx-lobes spreading and much divided, glandular-hairy, as are also the pedicels. Within the calyx-tube is a hollow disk on which the many pistils are set; ovaries hairy, becoming bony achenes. Hips about a half-inch long, ovoid, smooth, orange-red; under the rather thin skin is a layer of soft pulp, but within they are stuffed with the hard, hairy, straw-colored achenes.
Fig. 155. - Sweet Brier (Rosa rubiginosa). X 1/4.
Old bushes require grubbing for their removal. Young ones, while the canes are still green, may be destroyed by repeated cutting and salting, or by treating with a little caustic soda about the roots.