Sweet Briar Flower
The Sweet briar is a wild rose plant native to Europe and Western Asia. Now it also widely grows in North America along roadsides, pastures, and country homes. The deciduous shrubs belong to the family Rosaceae or the family of roses.
The two most common species of Sweet briar rose are R. rubiginosa or Rosa eglanteria or Eglantine rose.
The plants are dense deciduous shrubs that grow up to 2–3 meters in height and spread as much to the sides. The stems are thorny with hooked prickles. The flowers are small with five petals, and the foliage has an apple-like scent. The center of the flower is yellow with numerous stamens. Flowers bloom in clusters in late spring through summer. Sweet briar flower meaning is associated with its dainty, beautiful look. Not only are the flowers pretty, the red oblong, berry-like fruits also look quite attractive.
Sweet briar rose has existed for a long time and has been popular in Europe. The Sweet briar flower meaning is also connected to the fragrance and the physical features of these flowering shrubs.
The name ‘rubiginosa’ refers to rusty in Latin. The name is linked to the brownish-red tint present on the leaves of the R. rubiginosa variety.
The name eglantine is derived from the Middle English eglentyn, from Anglo-French eglent, and from Old French aiglantin. The name is based on the Latin words acus meaning ‘needle’ or aculeus referring to ‘thorny or prickle’. The word sweet used in the name is connected to the sweet refreshing, apple fragrance of these wild, thorny rose bushes. The word ‘briar’ is derived from the old English words ‘brer or braert’ which is the term for thorny shrubs. In India, this rose variety is called ‘Gul Nusreen’.
Sweet briar plants are hardy and grow almost anywhere. They are common in pastures, ner fields, and cottage gardens with a sunny, continental climate. Sweet briar flowers bloom mostly in pink. Sweet briar roses are not fussy plants. They grow on many soil types that are well-drained, not too sandy, and moderate to highly fertile.
A variety of wild rose, the Rosa agrestis or fieldbriar is closely related to Rosa agrestis. This variety bears white or blush pink flowers that lack the sweet fragrance.
Rose fruits, also known as rose hips or rosehaws of the Sweet briar flowers, are quite popular in Europe. The bright red, oblong rose hips are considered to be a great source of vitamin C and A. Even during World War II, these rose hops were a dependable source of vitamins for the British during wartime. As the popular expression goes while referring to the sweet briar hips – ‘We are getting by on our hips and hops.’
In Tunisia, these mildly fragrant flowers are used for producing natural flower water. Sweet Briar flowers can also be found blooming wild around the Andes mountains and are called ‘Rose Mosqueta’ in Chile and Argentina. In these countries, the sweet briar is cultivated for its fruits and flowers which are used in cosmetics and food products like marmalades.
Sweet briars are flowers that have been extremely popular in English literature for centuries. The Sweet briar flower meaning and symbolism have much to do with its fragrance and beauty. These pretty flowers express love, talent, poetry, and genius.
Due to the sweet scent of these flowers, they have been linked to the idea of purity. Sweet briar flowers are connected to the Holy Mother. However, everything about Sweet briars is not positive. Due to the thorns these shrubs feature, they are also linked to danger, wounded love, and rejection.
Being one of the earliest varieties of roses, these wild roses were one of the first of their kinds from which perfumes were produced. Sweet briar flowers and rose hips or fruits are also used in skin care products and natural oils. Being high in beta-carotene, oil produced from this plant is said to heal scars, hydrate the skin, and delay signs of aging.
Sweet briar flower is mentioned in several old English literary pieces. That ties the Sweet briar flower meaning to deep sentiments and emotions.
This wild rose was one of the favorites of Queen Elizabeth I of England and was cultivated in England even before 1551. Queen Elizabeth I adopted the ‘Eglantine’, or the Sweet Briar rose as the symbol of royalty and chastity.
In the olden days, the thorny shrubs were planted mainly as hedging plants in England and Scotland. That has also earned Sweet-briar rose the name of Scottish hedge-rose.
The Sweet briar also finds its place on the ‘Phoenix Jewel’ (ca. 1570-80), a pendant that displays the portrait bust of Queen Elizabeth I of England. Red and white Sweet briars and Tudor roses (floral emblem) border one side and a phoenix rises from the flames on the rear side. So deep was the association, that the Queen was sometimes referred to as Eglantine.
The extremely popular Sweet briar rose or eglantine also finds mention in William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.
This wild rose was introduced to Australia and New Zealand by the early settlers in the early 1800s. The ornamental rose was called ‘Te Mihanere’ by the Maoris. The literal translation is ‘The Missionary’.
What Do the Various Colors of the Sweet Briar Flower Mean
Although various varieties of wild roses that look quite similar to Sweet briar roses are found in many colors, Sweet Briars blossom only in shades of pink and white.
Pink: The pink Sweet briar flower meaning is similar to most pink flowers. It expresses love and affection, secret love, and admiration. It especially expresses the emotion ‘I wound to heal’ due to its medicinal properties. The essence of the Sweet briar flower meaning is associated with fueling constant love for others and oneself. It is linked to the courage of self to witness hurtful behavior and the strength to act according to one’s heartfelt desire.
White: Sweet briar flower meaning is deeply associated with the feeling of being wounded due to the plant’s thorny nature. But the beauty and the fresh fragrance connect the white flowers to purity, innocence, and sympathy like most white flowers. Sweet briar flowers also stand for simplicity and humbleness.
Interesting Facts and Characteristics of the Sweet Briar Flower
Sweet briar flowers are not only known for their pretty looks. They have high medicinal value and are admired for their healing properties.
- The green stems of sweet briar plants grow upright or arched when young. As they mature, the stems become woody and rough.
- Some useful products that are made from Sweet briar fruits are rosehip oil, rosehip tea, rosehip syrup, rosehip wine, and rosehip powder.
- The petals of these wild roses are used for treating headaches, and dizziness.
- Also, nerve tonics and blood purifiers are made from the petals by mixing them with honey.
- Oil extracted from the seeds is rich in Vitamin E. The oil is often used for treating skin conditions, wrinkles, burns, and other scars.
Best Time to Gift Someone Sweet Briar Flowers
Being delicate and wild, Sweet briar roses are not as popular as other roses for gifting. However, a bouquet containing these old roses expresses being emotionally hurt.
Sweet briar roses found their place in wedding bouquets in olden times and are still preferred by some for their simple, county charm.