Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Rose thorns and dragons

Note gratefully received 30 October 2021:

‘One of my grandsons in Kent said all the children pull thorns off wild rose [Rosa canina] bushes and spit on them and stick them on their noses to turn them into dragons.

My daughter tells me she and her friends used to do the same in southeast London, but didn’t tell their parents in case they were stopped for safety reasons.’

This is the only report we have of this practice, other records would be appreciated, please send them to

Comment:  In about 2016 the website AskWomen received correspondence following a question ‘Did you ever snap the chunky thorns off roses and stick ’em on your nose and pretend to be a rhino?’  One response was:

‘My siblings and I did this all the time when we were kids. (There were rose bushes growing in the park where we used to play).  I’m Dutch.’

Another respondent recalled playing similar games in Canada.

Updated 4 March 2022.

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