and are already almost past their prime. They began blooming in my area just last week and yet most of the ones I saw yesterday are already fading and losing petals! That doesn’t seem quite fair, does it? We wait all year for them and then, boom! Bloomed and gone….
Actually the beach rose, officially known as the Rosa rugosa, is not a native to our shores though it has certainly adapted to living here. It is also on almost every promotional piece related to Cape Cod so one could say we’ve certainly adopted it as well.
I hope you have a chance to walk by these wonderful bushes this week at a beach near you and take in the summery scent of these delicious smelling flowers that begin the days of summer even before the calendar says it’s here.
And no, Rosa rugosa isn’t the beach plum, even though the fat orange hips often get called beach plums. Here is a picture of a blooming beach plum shrub–beach plums were in bloom several weeks ago and as you can see in the picture, they have many tiny white blossoms….
Rosa rugosa is best known as our common beach rose. It is found along salt marsh edges, around the feet of dunes and on the side of many beaches. It isn’t native, though it is so pervasive it might seem to be. It originated in Asia and was brought here some time in the 1800′s. There are many stories and speculations as to how it got here. Some say seeds were floating in dirty bilge water that was drained here. Others say a romantic sea captain brought a plant back for his wife who loved roses. Frankly, I’m sticking with the latter…In any case, the fruits that grow after the flowers have died off are known as rose hips and the hips of the rosa rugosa are fat and juicy and full of vitamin C. Many people collect them and either make jelly with the ripe fruits or dry them to use in teas, etc. Many birds and animals also eat them. Sometimes confused with beach plums, rose hips are fat and red and beach plums are oblong and purplish.
I’ve included this pear because so many of our woodlands have grown up in old farm steads and old fruit trees can be found in most local woods. This pear was the last to be found from a little pear tree among the beeches and hickories of Sandwich. I’m sure it didn’t last very long.
are especially wonderful on sunny spring afternoons. These shots are from Long Beach in Centerville.