Friday, 6 September 2013

Rose Hips or Heps.....?

It's the time of year where our roses that had such a beautiful display of flowers start to display and ripen their heps. You will notice that I use the term heps instead of hips, the reason for this is because it is simply the way I've been taught and both are acceptable terms for the fruit that roses produce. Heps tends to be a term used by the older generation and specialists alike and in some cases people will use the term 'rose fruit' but don't worry they all mean the same thing.

Heps are produced once the rose flowers have been pollinated, they will start to appear on the plant towards the end of Summer and they will swell in size and ripen throughout Autumn. Many people forget about or disregard heps but  in my opinion they are just as beautiful and interesting as the flowers that come before. They come in all different shapes, sizes and colours which I find fascinating and some of the roses are so festooned in heps that they stop you in your tracks. Not only are they pretty but also very useful, they can be used in some medicines and in food to produce everything from jam and jelly to wine and vodka!

Here are just a few of the endless varieties of heps we have here at Mottisfont.


  1. Absolutely love this post! Hep season starts here in California now, and so many ways to use them in autumn arrangements.

  2. I love hips too! Always find it so frustrating that clear descriptions of hips are almost never included in catalogues, i.e. colour, shape, size, and how long they hold their colour, etc. - just some basic things you need to know when trying to plan for year-round interest in the garden. Yours are so beautiful, but no names! By the way, my understanding on the hips/heps question is that hips is the original/older term, but the Victorians felt the word far too indelicate (along with naked piano legs, etc.) so came up with the less suggestive alternative! Sorry I can't remember where I got this from. Anyway, many thanks for the beautiful pictures...