Scientific name
Rosa abyssinica

Family name

Local name(s)
Kaga (Amargna), Qaqawwii (Oromiffa), Dayero (Somali), Abyssinian rose (English)

General description
A prickly evergreen shrub, creeping or often climbing, sometimes forming a small tree of 0.5 - 7m of height. Few prickles on the stem, slightly curved from a wide base and all similar. Variable in many features. Leaves are compound and leathery, 3 pairs leaflets plus one at the tip, each narrowly ovate 1 - 6cm, tip sharp, edge toothed, on a short stalk which is winged by the leafy stipules. Flowers are of fragrant white-pale yellow, usually 3 - 20 in dense heads, each stalked, the sepals long, narrow and hairy, soon fall, 5 patals about 2cm long, tip rounded to square, many stamens. The fruits are green at first, ripen to orange-red, about 2cm long, fleshy and edible with seed within.

Edible part(s), preparation methods and palatability
Fruits are edible. The fruits are very much liked by children and eaten fresh and raw. The fruits can be harvested from December onwards. When consuming too much, the fruits may cause stomachache and tingling sensation on the teeth.

Found only in Arabia, Ethiopia, Somalia and the Sudan, this rose is common in the mid- and highlands. Common, forming thickets in upland dry evergreen forest and margins and clearings, in upland bushland, rocky places, dry grassland and riparian formations, also in different types of man-made habitats, sometimes standing alone as a small tree (1,700 - 3,300m). Also found in Yemen, Somalia and Sudan.

Propagation method(s)
Propagates by seeds, seedlings and cuttings.

Sample location(s)
(1) Mekane Birhan Kebele, Jana Mora Woreda (North Gonder); (2) Simien Mountain National Park, Debark woreda, (North Gonder)

Goats, monkeys and baboons also eat the fruits. There are reports that the fruits are also used as medicine against hookworm. In the Agew (Awi) area of Gojam the species is burned to collect incense. R. abyssinica is also grown in gardens as an ornamental and around homesteads as a live fence.

Drawings can be found in Hedberg and Edwards (eds), 1989: p.35; Bekele-Tesemma, 1993: p. 399; Bein et al., 1996: p. 345

1 Parts of the following description have been taken from Hedberg and Edwards (eds), 1989: p.35/36 and MacLachlan, 1999.

Back to top



R. abyssinica tree at the Simien National Park Office in Debark town (North Gonder)

R. abyssinica branches with flowers (top) and flower detail (below), Debark town (North Gonder), February 2001