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A low, compact bush, whose stems are armed with stout, pale-coloured, very hooked prickles, 1⁄4 to 1⁄3 in. long, some of which are arranged in pairs at the base of the leaf-stalks, some scattered. Leaves 1 to 2 in. long; leaflets mostly five, 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 in. long, oval or roundish, simply and coarsely toothed, downy above, felted beneath, of firm texture. Flowers rosy white, about 1 in. across, usually solitary on short, bristly stalks. Receptacle and sepals bristly. Fruits globose, 1⁄3 in. wide, dark red, glandular-bristly, crowned with the spreading sepals.
A little known species ranging from the mountains of Iran west to southern Transcaucasia, not closely allied to any other species. Crépin placed it in the Caninae, but all members of that group are polyploids of hybrid origin, whereas R. elymaitica is diploid. In the cultivated plant described above the leaflets are hairy on both sides, but they may be more or less glabrous. R. elymaitica was introduced to Kew in 1900 and proved hardy, but is no longer cultivated there.