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Biological Flora of the British Isles: Rosa spinosissima L.

Eike Mayland-Quellhorst, Jens Föller, Volker Wissemann
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Journal Article
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1. This account presents information on all aspects of the biology of Rosa spinosissima L. (R. pimpinellifolia L.) that are relevant to understanding its ecological characteristics and behav- iour. The main topics are presented within the standard framework of the Biological Flora of the British Isles: distribution, habitat, communities, responses to biotic factors, responses to environ- ment, structure and physiology, phenology, floral and seed characters, herbivores and disease, his- tory, and conservation. 2. Rosa spinosissima is a small, deciduous shrub forming clonal patches fromroot suckers. In Brit- ain it is common on stabilized coastal dunes, more or less base-rich heaths, and on open, dry habi- tats on chalk or limestone inland. It is naturally distributed across temperate Europe and western and central Asia. 3. The small leaves and leaflets, in combination with many straight or slightly curved bristles and prickles, and the black hips, make R. spinosissima easily recognizable in Britain. It normally does not exceed 10–40 cmbut cultivars often growtaller. 4. The seeds are dispersed by birds and other animals, particularly as the hips are a favoured diet of birds, because of the high vitamin and anthocyanin content. Vegetative spread is frequent through the root suckers. 5. Cultivars are commonly planted for amenity and in gardens. The origin of the cultivars is not known, but genetic exchange of these with natural British populations may lead to introgression with genotypes which are not locally adapted. The invasive Rosa rugosa may be a threat in some coastal habitats as this species is displacing R. spinosissimaon the GermanNorth Sea coast.

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