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Sherard's Downy Rose

Rosa sherardii

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Rosaceae (Rose)
Also in this family:
Acute Leaf-lobed Lady's-mantle, Alpine Cinquefoil, Alpine Lady's-mantle, Ampfield Cotoneaster, Arran Service Tree, Arran Whitebeam, Barren Strawberry, Bastard Agrimony, Bastard Service Tree, Bearberry Cotoneaster, Bird Cherry, Blackthorn, Bloody Whitebeam, Bramble, Bristol Whitebeam, Broad-leaved Whitebeam, Broadtooth Lady's-mantle, Bronze Pirri-pirri-bur, Bullace Plum, Bullate Cotoneaster, Burnet Rose, Catacol Whitebeam, Caucasian Lady's-mantle, Cheddar Whitebeam, Cherry Laurel, Cherry Plum, Chinese Photinia, Cloudberry, Clustered Lady's-mantle, Common Agrimony, Common Hawthorn, Common Lady's-mantle, Common Medlar, Common Ninebark, Common Whitebeam, Crab Apple, Creeping Chinese Bramble, Creeping Cinquefoil, Crimean Lady's-mantle, Cultivated Apple, Cultivated Pear, Cut-leaved Blackberry, Damson, Devon Whitebeam, Dewberry, Diel's Cotoneaster, Dog Rose, Doward Whitebeam, Dropwort, Elm-leaved Bramble, English Whitebeam, Entire-leaved Cotoneaster, False Salmonberry, Field Rose, Firethorn, Fodder Burnet, Fragrant Agrimony, Franchet's Cotoneaster, Garden Lady's-mantle, Garden Strawberry, Giant Meadowsweet, Glaucous Dog Rose, Goatsbeard Spiraea, Gough's Rock Whitebeam, Great Burnet, Greengage Plum, Grey-leaved Whitebeam, Hairless Lady's-mantle, Hairy Lady's-mantle, Hautbois Strawberry, Himalayan Blackberry, Himalayan Cotoneaster, Himalayan Whitebeam, Hoary Cinquefoil, Hollyberry Cotoneaster, Hupeh Rowan, Hybrid Cinquefoil, Hybrid Geum, Irish Whitebeam, Japanese Cherry, Japanese Quince, Japanese Rose, Jew's Mallow, Juneberry, Lancaster Whitebeam, Late Cotoneaster, Least Lady's-mantle, Least Whitebeam, Leigh Woods Whitebeam, Ley's Whitebeam, Liljefor's Whitebeam, Littleleaf Cotoneaster, Llangollen Whitebeam, Llanthony Whitebeam, Lleyn Cotoneaster, Loganberry, Many-flowered Rose, Margaret's Whitebeam, Marsh Cinquefoil, Meadowsweet, Midland Hawthorn, Mougeot's Whitebeam, Mountain Ash, Mountain Avens, Mountain Sibbaldia, Moupin's Cotoneaster, No Parking Whitebeam, Ocean Spray, Orange Whitebeam, Pale Bridewort, Pale Lady's-mantle, Parsley Piert, Pirri-pirri-bur, Plymouth Pear, Portuguese Laurel, Purple-flowered Raspberry, Quince, Raspberry, Rock Cinquefoil, Rock Lady's-mantle, Rock Whitebeam, Round-leaved Dog Rose, Round-leaved Whitebeam, Rum Cherry, Russian Cinquefoil, Salad Burnet, Sargent's Rowan, Scannell's Whitebeam, Service Tree, Sharp-toothed Whitebeam, Shining Lady's-mantle, Ship Rock Whitebeam, Short-styled Rose, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Silver Lady's-mantle, Silverweed, Slender Parsley Piert, Slender-spined Bramble, Small-flowered Sweetbriar, Small-leaved Sweetbriar, Soft Downy Rose, Somerset Whitebeam, Sorbaria, Sour Cherry, Southern Downy Rose, Southern Lady's-mantle, Spineless Acaena, Spring Cinquefoil, St. Lucie's Cherry, Steeplebush, Stern's Cotoneaster, Stirton's Whitebeam, Stone Bramble, Sulphur Cinquefoil, Swedish Service Tree, Swedish Whitebeam, Sweet Briar, Symond's Yat Whitebeam, Tengyueh Cotoneaster, Thimbleberry, Thin-leaved Whitebeam, Tibetan Cotoneaster, Tormentil, Trailing Tormentil, Tree Cotoneaster, Trefoil Cinquefoil, Twin-cliffs Whitebeam, Two-spined Acaena, Wall Cotoneaster, Water Avens, Waterer's Cotoneaster, Waxy Lady's-mantle, Welsh Cotoneaster, Welsh Whitebeam, White Burnet, White's Whitebeam, White-stemmed Bramble, Wild Cherry, Wild Pear, Wild Plum, Wild Service Tree, Wild Strawberry, Willmott's Whitebeam, Willow-leaved Bridewort, Willow-leaved Cotoneaster, Wineberry, Wood Avens, Wye Whitebeam, Yellow-flowered Strawberry
Deciduous shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
2 metres tall
Fields, gardens, hedgerows, moorland, parks, roadsides, scrub, woodland.

Pink, 5 petals
Clusters of pink flowers which are sometimes white, especially in Scotland. The flowers are 4cm in diameter. Pollinated by bees.
The red fruit are called rose hips and are 2cm in diameter. The globular hips are bristly and contain numerous seeds.
Bluish-green, pinnate, stalked leaves which are downy (or at least beneath). The undersides of the leaves have red glands. The prickles on the branches are almost straight, and the branches are not arching (as with Dog Rose). Very common in Scotland and Wales. This rose was named after the English botanist, William Sherard (1659-1728).
Faintly scented flowers.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Rosa sherardii is a species of rose that is native to Mexico and Central America. It is a climbing vine that can grow up to 20 feet long. The leaves are dark green and glossy, and the flowers are small and pink or red. The plant is drought-tolerant and can grow in a variety of soils. It is not commonly grown as a ornamental plant but it has been used traditionally for medicinal purposes such as wound healing, and it is also used for erosion control on slopes.


Sherard's Downy Rose, also known as Rosa sherardii, is a beautiful and unique species of rose that is native to the mountainous regions of southern Europe. It is a low-growing, evergreen shrub that can reach up to one meter in height and produces clusters of small, pink flowers with a distinct, downy texture.

The Sherard's Downy Rose is named after the English botanist William Sherard, who first discovered the species in the 18th century while exploring the Greek island of Crete. Sherard was a renowned botanist and plant collector, and he is credited with introducing many new plant species to England during his travels throughout Europe and the Mediterranean.

One of the most striking features of the Sherard's Downy Rose is its foliage. The leaves are dark green, glossy, and have a fuzzy, downy texture on the undersides, which gives the plant a unique and interesting appearance. The leaves are also evergreen, which means they stay on the plant year-round and provide a beautiful backdrop for the delicate pink flowers.

The flowers of the Sherard's Downy Rose are small, typically only about two centimeters in diameter, but they are produced in large clusters that can contain up to 50 individual flowers. The flowers have a lovely fragrance and attract bees and other pollinators to the garden. The petals are a soft pink color, with a slightly darker center, and the overall effect is very pretty and delicate.

In terms of growing conditions, the Sherard's Downy Rose is relatively easy to care for. It prefers a sunny location and well-drained soil, but it can tolerate a range of soil types and is quite drought-tolerant once established. It is also fairly cold-hardy and can survive temperatures down to -10 degrees Celsius, making it a good choice for gardeners in colder climates.

One of the benefits of growing Sherard's Downy Rose in the garden is that it is relatively pest-resistant and disease-resistant. It is not prone to many of the common rose diseases, such as black spot or powdery mildew, which can make it a good choice for gardeners who want to avoid using chemical pesticides or fungicides.

Sherard's Downy Rose is a member of the Rosaceae family, which also includes other popular garden plants such as strawberries, raspberries, and apples. Like many other members of this family, the Sherard's Downy Rose produces a small fruit that is edible but not particularly tasty. The fruit is a small, red, berry-like structure called a hip, which is often used in herbal remedies to treat a range of ailments.

Another interesting fact about Sherard's Downy Rose is that it has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. The plant has been used to treat a range of conditions, including headaches, digestive problems, and respiratory infections. The leaves and flowers are often used to make herbal teas or poultices, and the plant has been studied for its potential anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

In addition to its ornamental and medicinal uses, Sherard's Downy Rose has also been used in the perfume industry. The flowers produce a lovely fragrance that is often used in high-end perfumes and colognes. The essential oil of the Sherard's Downy Rose is also used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation and reduce stress.

Unfortunately, like many other plant species, Sherard's Downy Rose is threatened by habitat loss and climate change. As mountainous regions become warmer and drier, the plant's natural habitat may become unsuitable, which could lead to a decline in populations. Additionally, overgrazing by livestock and development may also threaten the plant's survival in some areas.

In addition to its role in traditional medicine and perfumery, Sherard's Downy Rose has also played a role in art and culture. The plant has been featured in paintings, poetry, and other artistic works throughout history. For example, the 19th-century English poet John Clare wrote a poem about the Sherard's Downy Rose, describing its delicate beauty and the way it brightened up the countryside:

"Where roses with their softest hues impart
Their fragrance to the wild flower-scented air,
The sweetest of the sweet—the rose's heart—
The Sherardii, lovely, past compare."

In modern times, the Sherard's Downy Rose has also become a popular plant for use in landscaping and garden design. Its low-growing habit and attractive foliage make it a great choice for use in rock gardens, borders, and other small-scale plantings. It can also be used as a ground cover, as it spreads slowly and forms a dense mat that suppresses weeds.

It's worth noting that the Sherard's Downy Rose is just one of many beautiful and interesting rose species that exist in the world. While many gardeners are familiar with the hybrid tea roses that are commonly sold in nurseries, there are literally hundreds of other rose species that are worth exploring. Whether you're interested in growing roses for their ornamental value, their medicinal properties, or their cultural significance, there is sure to be a species of rose that will capture your imagination.

One of the things that makes Sherard's Downy Rose and other wild rose species so interesting is their natural hardiness and ability to thrive in a range of environments. Unlike many modern hybrid tea roses, which require careful pruning, fertilization, and protection from pests and diseases, Sherard's Downy Rose is a tough and resilient plant that can withstand harsh conditions and adapt to different soils and climates.

For gardeners who are interested in growing Sherard's Downy Rose, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, the plant prefers well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. It can tolerate a range of soil types, from sandy to loamy to clay, but it doesn't like soil that is too wet or heavy. Second, Sherard's Downy Rose is a slow-growing plant that may take several years to reach its full size and produce a good crop of flowers. However, once established, it is a low-maintenance plant that requires little care beyond occasional watering and light pruning to remove dead or damaged wood.

Finally, it's worth noting that Sherard's Downy Rose and other wild rose species play an important role in ecosystems around the world. The plants provide food and habitat for a range of insects, birds, and mammals, including bees, butterflies, and small mammals like voles and mice. Additionally, the plants help to stabilize soil and prevent erosion, and they can also act as a barrier against invasive species.

Overall, Sherard's Downy Rose is a fascinating and beautiful plant that has many uses and benefits. Whether you're interested in growing it for its ornamental value, its medicinal properties, or its ecological benefits, it's definitely a plant that is worth getting to know. By growing and appreciating this plant, we can help to promote its conservation and protect it for future generations to enjoy.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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