The stems of Rosa virginiana are covered in numerous hooked prickles. The leaves are pinnate, usually with between 7 and 9 glossy leaflets. The pink flowers are borne singly or in small clusters and appear over a long period in midsummer. The fruits are small, round and bright red, rich in vitamin C and edible, being both used to make jams and tea. In cultivation, this plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. The plant is perfect for cottage gardens, wildflower meadows, coastal gardens.