Cleaning Wild Rose (hips)

picture of rose hips in field

Rose hips before harvest

Wild rose is a perennial forb that colonizes large areas where native grasses are thin. I think it’s an essential component of mixed grass prairie restorations because it blooms early in the summer and withstands drought better than many other wildflowers. In fact it was one of the most persistent plants through the dust bowl. I need to find the citation for that fact. Wildlife rely on it for food during difficult winters when little else is available. It is not a preferred food.

What follows are a series of pictures that show how we clean rose hips. It is not necessarily the best way and I welcome suggestions or comments on how to increase efficiency or improve seed quality.

First we shatter the rose hip with a hammer mill. This separates seed, flesh, and the irritating hairs that lie between the two. What cannot be shared is the sweet smell emitted during this process. Rose hips have one of the most pleasant aromas of all the seed we clean.

Did I mention the hips have irritating filaments? After shattering I like to separate the dust and hairs from the seed and dried pulp. By this time my skin is crawling in spite of wearing long sleeves and gloves. We set a box fan on a tarp and run it on medium. You can see the material separation below.

Picture of separated seed on tarp and a box fan

Box fan set up on a tarp where seed and the irritating hairs that surround the seeds can be separated.

After separating the coarse from fine particles the seed can be run through a fanning mill. Sometimes I screen the seed through 1/4″ hardware wire to reduce bulk.

Picture of screen on sawhorses with tarp below and seed

1/4″ screen to separate larger chunks of pulp, small hips, and stems.

Picture of seed and pulp in pink trug

Bulk of seed has been reduced by half and weight by 25%


I’ll add pictures as I continue to clean this lot of seed.

This entry was posted in prairie, restoration, seed cleaning, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.