Q: A friend was on a trip recently and saw these on the side of the road. We are at a loss as to what they are.
A: Your friend saw the seedpods (hips) of a particular kind of rose: rugosa rose, which has a eponymous name: Rosa rugosa.
This rose is known for the quilted/wrinkled appearance of the leaves plus the size of its hips – which are a good source on Vitamin C.
The flowers of rugosa rose are very similar to apple blossoms… a natural thing since apples and roses belong to the same botanical family.
Rose hips can be collected when they ripen and split apart in fall and the seeds planted in a sunny bed. The sprouts will come up in spring and you’ll have many more roses with attractive hips.