29 March, 2012

Briar Rose. Flowers in November. Berries now.

The Rosehip plants flowered in November.  "Sweet Brier" is another import plant that finds the distinct climate of our area very suitable and now is spread across the region.  That time of year it's a beautiful rose.  All of the time it's a pest with sharp catching thorns, making it difficult to get past.
21st November 2010
Later in the season we get berries and they look good too.  And had an interesting use historically and not so long ago.

The early gold miners came into this landscape where there were no trees, only grasses and tussock.  They ate badly and often only 'damper' which is a flour and water 'bread'   Vitamin C deficiency and the resulting scurvy illness was a problem.  Sweet briar berries are an excellent source of Vitamin C so the brier was planted around camps and homesteads.  It likes our poor soils which limits competing growth.  It's berries have been taken by rabbits and birds and it's spread into the wild was rapid.

 Our climate here is a 'rainshadow' and it's interesting to see Rosehips spread in Patagonia as well.  The link to the very interesting 'Federal Twist' blog shows a similar landscape where the rosehips, a european plant, have also spread across the landscape.

(to see an explanation of 'rainshadow' click here)

Now it's March and the berries are out.
March 2012
March 2012
March 2012
April will be when the berries are best to be gathered.  After the first frost.  Remember this is the Southern Hemisphere.  Our winter is June, July August.

Before and after the second world war there used to be an industry where people could gather the berries wild, and be paid for them by a company (Robinsons) that made them into syrup.  This was well regarded and issued to children as part of Government support programmes and purchased by parents for children and babies.

There is this interesting link with a lot of detail.  ('kai' is a New Zealand word for 'food')



  1. Interesting. Is there still a commercial market for the berries?

    Here in Namibia we also have problems with imported species which are aggressive growers in our climate.

  2. Those rose hips are beautiful. And they look tasty.

  3. Wild roses don't grow here, ours have to be in ICU watered thru the summer.


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