This species is very common in south-east England, usually in hedgebanks and wooded habitats. It is recognisable as a member of the Discolores by the complete absence of stalked glands and the leaves whitish below. The flowers are often tightly clustered. They have pale pink petals, sometimes fading to white, which are almost round and sometimes slightly overlapping. The stamens are noticeably short, revealing the green styles, so helping to give the flowers a distinctive appearance.
Flowers are about 2-2.5cm across. The rounded, slightly concave petals give them a distinctive look, somewhat similar to some other species in the series, such as R. armeniacus, but that has much larger flowers with very long stamens.
Leaves can have 3, 4 or 5 leaflets. The terminal leaflet is elliptical to obovate with a relatively short apex. The margins are serrately toothed and have crinkled margins (like many other species). Leaflet undersides are typically slightly greenish-white, especially in shade.
Stems are shortly pubescent and have long, fairly slender prickles which are usually patent (perpendicular) but can be slightly curved or declining.