Burnet Rose

Common name:
Burnet Rose
Rosa spinosissima (R.pimpinellifolia)
Rosaceae – The Rose Family
Flowering period:
May to June
calcareous grasslands and heaths, limestone pavement, turlough edges, sand dunes
Conservation Status:
Locally abundant throughout the Burren

Immerse yourself in the beautiful scent of wild Burnet rose in full bloom throughout the Burren at present. This delicate wild Irish rose is a delight to the senses. Sometimes flushed with baby pink, even full pink variations can be found.

Short description: 

Delicately scented creamy white rose flowers which are sometimes flushed with baby pink hues and or even completely pink, pop up over limestone pavements and crags from the middle of May through to July.   Flowers are borne on very prickly stems and have five heart shaped petals and a beautiful creamy central crown of golden stamens surrounding the styles. The small green hairless leaves consist of 7-9 leaflets, each one toothed along the edge.  The Burnet rose is the only wild rose of the Burren to bear black hips, and this feature allows its easy identification during the late Autumn and winter months.


Noteworthy characteristics

A small very spiny shrub rose with delicately scented beautiful creamy white flowers. The dark green leaves are smaller than those of the dog rose. Large colonies can develop over shattered limestone pavement due to the plants ability  to form suckers from the root.  The only wild rose of the Burren with black hips in the Autumn

Uses and other points of interest:

All roses have an affinity with the heart and have been used for centuries in healing heart medicines be that as syrups, tinctures, teas, ointments and oils.  The use of wild roses in herbal medicine in Ireland goes back over centuries. Rosehips are an excellent source of Vitamin C and have been used in the treatment of coughs and colds. Other traditional medicinal uses for roses include weak stomach, liver conditions, skin conditions and scurvy.

The rose is a universal symbol of beauty and eternal love and has been so used in many aspects of Irish cultural history including Irish poetry and song

‘My wild Irish rose,

The sweetest flower that grows.

You may search everywhere,

but none may compare

To my wild Irish rose.’   (‘My Wild Irish Rose’)


Wild roses and their hips have many different uses including as drinks, syrups, food, cosmetics and perfumes.


The dark purple hips of the Burnet rose have been used as a source of dye

Personal note

For me the Burnet rose is the most beautiful of all wild roses to grace the Burren landscape with the sweetest of scents drifting in the air over the limestone pavement on a warm day in the Burren particularly towards the middle of May and early June.  To my eye this beautiful wild rose of the Burren seems to bear bigger blossoms each year.

I can remember as a child collecting wild rose hips and bringing them to school as part of a Nationwide campaign to collect as many rosehips as possible to send to children in  Africa as a good source of Vitamin C.


Locally abundant




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