Rosa rugosa | Japanese Rose | Rós rúsacach



Conservation status

Not Assessed

First reported in the wild



Invasive species - risk of Medium Impact

Irish status


Introduction pathways - 1

Escape from Confinement

Introduction pathways subclass - 1

Ornamental purpose

Invasive score


NAPRA Ireland risk assessed


Species Biology


Woody, deciduous perennial shrub, growing up to 1.5m tall, dark or yellow green leaves - grey-green and hairy on the underside with a single bright purplish-pink flower (Booy et al., 2015).


Mainly invades sand dunes and other coastal areas where it can form dense stands, effects are particularly acute affects on grey dunes where it excludes grassland species and supporting only a small number of shade tolerant taxa (Isermann, 2008a). Furthermore where R. rugosa dominates the species communities contain a higher percentage of neophytes (plants introduced since 1500) and a lower percentage of native species than similar uninvaded communities (Isermann, 2008b) and dune communities where R. rugosa is present have a "low conservation value" (Isermann, 2008c).


Regularly or recently cultivated agricultural, horticultural or domestic habitat; Coastal


Hermaphrodites with nectarless flowers that produce abundant, strongly scented pollen as reward to pollinators, pollinated mainly by bumblebees in its native range (Bruun, 2005). Seed production is variable but dense stands can produce from 600–1300 seeds m-2 (Bruun, 2005).

Pathway and vector description

Garden plant introduced to Europe in the 18th century (Isermann, 2008), spread into the wild by escaping from gardens and garden waste (Reynolds, 2002). Still widely sold as a garden plant, anthropogenic mediated dispersal is likely to be a key vector for spread in Ireland, similar to in Denmark where invasion of coastal dunes by Rosa rugosa is correlated with proximity to roads, tracks and houses (Jørgensen & Kollmann, 2009).

Mechanism of impact


Broad environment


Habitat description

Gardens, hedgerows, sand dunes and cliffs (Reynolds, 2002).

Species group


Native region

Temperate Asia


World distribution(GBIF)

Irish distribution

Established - Widespread but localised.

Native distribution

Native to Japan and the Korean peninsula (Ohwi, 1965), it has been introduced widely in Europe and is considered a pest species along the north Atlantic coast of Germany (Isermann, 2008), Denmark (Kollmann et al., 2009) and along the Baltic coast (Kollmann et al., 2007).

Temporal change

Date of first record category


Fifty year date category


Records submitted to Data Centre in 2022

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How can you help

Report any sightings in to the National Biodiversity Data Centre. Do not plant in the wild or in gardens close to sand dunes or other vulnerable habitats.

Further information

Delivering Alien Invasive Species In Europe (DAISIE) project list R. rugosa as one of the 100 Worst Invaders in Europe. Potential biocontrol agents are discussed in Bruun (2006), but to date none have been trialled successfully.



Reynolds, S.C.P. (2002) A catalogue of alien plants in Ireland. National Botanic Gardens. Glasnevin, Dublin. Isermann, M. (2008). Effects of Rosa rugosa invasion in different coastal dune vegetation types. Plant invasions: human perception, ecological impacts and management. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, 289-306. Jørgensen, R. H., & Kollmann, J. (2009). Invasion of coastal dunes by the alien shrub Rosa rugosa is associated with roads, tracks and houses. Flora-Morphology, Distribution, Functional Ecology of Plants, 204(4), 289-297. Bruun, H. H. (2005). Rosa rugosa Thunb. ex Murray. Journal of Ecology, 93(2), 441-470. Ohwi, J. (1965) Flora of Japan (translated and edited by F.G. Mayer & E.H. Walker). Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, USA. Isermann, M. (2008a). Expansion of Rosa rugosa and Hippophaë rhamnoides in coastal grey dunes: effects at different spatial scales. Flora-Morphology, Distribution, Functional Ecology of Plants, 203(4), 273-280. Isermann, M. (2008b). Classification and habitat characteristics of plant communities invaded by the non-native Rosa rugosa Thunb. in NW Europe. Phytocoenologia, 38(1-2), 133-150. Isermann, M. (2008c). Effects of Rosa rugosa invasion in different coastal dune vegetation types. Plant invasions: human perception, ecological impacts and management. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, 289-306. Kelager, A., Pedersen, J. S., & Bruun, H. H. (2013). Multiple introductions and no loss of genetic diversity: invasion history of Japanese Rose, Rosa rugosa, in Europe. Biological invasions, 15(5), 1125-1141. Bruun, H. H. (2006). Prospects for biocontrol of invasive Rosa rugosa. BioControl, 51(2), 141-181.

CABI Datasheet

DAISIE Factsheet

Additional comments

In continental Europe, R. rugosa introductions and spread have been aided by high propagule pressure (large number of introduction events) with more than 13+ genetic populations identified in Europe (Kelager et al., 2013). Strong genetic variation, while not necessary for successful invaders (e.g. Fallopia japonica individuals in Britain are thought to be largely descended from a single plant), it is likely to allow the plant to adapt to its new environment and changing conditions in the future.