Wild rose

Dog rose (Rosa canina) and Sweet briar rose (Rosa rubiginosa)

Wild rose

Image credit: James Donnelly

Land managers do not generally distinguish between Dog rose and Sweet briar rose.

Both are referred to as Dog rose, Briar rose or Wild rose. Wild rose is a scrambling, woody, perennial shrub. It is a weed of pastures and native vegetation where it displaces desirable species and provides shelter for rabbits and other pest animals.

Wild rose (Dog rose and Briar rose) is a declared weed under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004 (NRM Act).


  • Wild rose is a scrambling prickly shrub that forms dense thickets 1-3 m tall
  • the woody stems are erect but arch towards the top. The stems are armed with backward curving spines. Older stems die each year and are replaced in spring
  • leaves are 2-4 cm long with serrated margins. New leaves are produced early in spring and shed in autumn
  • flowers are pink and present from October to December in small groups at the end of the branches
  • fruit is a round, red hip 1-2 cm long. Fruit matures in late summer and seeds are shed in autumn or early winter
  • Wild rose germinates mostly in autumn and spring. Seedlings are poor competitors with established plants and mostly survive in sheltered areas
  • suckering occurs freely from the crown, particularly if plants are damaged. Suckering results in large, dense clumps.


  • Wild rose can be suppressed by rabbit and stock grazing although suckering is important in reproduction, particularly because juvenile plants are not hardy
  • dense thickets obstruct the movement of stock and can harbour foxes, rabbits and other pest animals
  • invades native grasslands, grassy woodland and watercourses where it displaces native shrubs and ground layer species
  • it is also a pest plant of pine plantations and roadsides.


  • Wild rose is native to Euro-Asia. It is used as a hedge plant in Europe and as a rootstock for ornamental roses
  • in the Mount Lofty Ranges Wild rose is widespread where annual rainfall exceeds 550 mm. It occurs in roadsides, neglected pasture, pine plantations and native vegetation
  • Wild rose grows in a wide range of soils, but particularly well-drained, fertile soils
  • the weed is becoming more widespread in the Fleurieu Peninsula and northern hills where it spread in hilly pastures near fencelines or paddock trees
  • fruit are eaten by a range of mammals and birds.

How to control this weed

  • young Wild rose plants are readily controlled in well-managed pastures by grazing and by competition from pasture plants
  • large shrubs are resistant to grazing. They can be controlled by cutting stems close to ground level and painting the stump with herbicide
  • for advice on chemical control techniques contact your nearest Natural Resources Centre
  • refer to the 'Weed control handbook for declared plants in South Australia' for advice on chemical control. You can find it on the Biosecurity SA website.


The following sections of the NRM Act apply to Wild rose (Dog rose and Briar rose) in the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges region:

  • 175 (2) Cannot transport the plant, or any material or equipment containing that plant, on a public road 
  • 177 (1) Cannot sell the plant
  • 177 (2) Cannot sell any produce / goods carrying the plant
  • 182 (2) Landowner must control the plant on their land
  • 185 (1) NRM authority may recover costs for control of weeds on roadsides from adjoining landowners

More information

For more detailed information download the fact sheet.

Please contact us for advice and assistance with controlling Wild rose.