It is a dense deciduous shrub 2–3 m high and across, with the stems bearing numerous hooked prickles. The foliage has a strong apple-like fragrance. The leaves are pinnate, 5–9 cm long, with 5–9 rounded to oval leaflets with a serrated margin, and numerous glandular hairs. The flowers are 1.8–3 cm diameter, the five petals being pink with a white base, and the numerous stamens yellow; the flowers are produced in clusters of 2–7 together, from late spring to mid summer. The fruit is a globose to oblong red hip 1–2 cm diameter.