September 2006 – Autumn in the cemetery
The fruit of the rose is a berry-like structure called a rose hip. Dialect names for wild rose hips are more extravagant and include “hedge-pedgies”, “nippernails”, “pixie pears” and “pig’s noses”.
Rose species that produce open-faced flowers are attractive to pollinating bees and other insects, thus more apt to produce hips. The hips of most species are red and each hip comprises an outer fleshy layer, the inside containing 5–25 seeds (technically achenes) embedded in a matrix of fine, but stiff, hairs. Rose hips of some species, especially the Dog Rose (Rosa canina) and Rugosa Rose (Rosa rugosa), are very rich in vitamin C, among the richest sources of any plant. The hips are eaten by fruit-eating birds such as thrushes and waxwings, which then disperse the seeds in their droppings. Some birds, particularly finches, also eat the seeds.