Rosa multiflora Thunb. ex Murr.Multiflora Rose
May be confused with the following native and/or non-native species.
Landscape Alternatives lists native horticultural substitutes
HeightMultiflora rose is clump forming and grows to 13 feet (4 m). The first 5.0-6.5 feet (1.5-2.0 m) of the stem are typically erect with the tips arching back to the ground.
StemsStems are glabrous, erect, and arching with curved, flattened, broad-based thorns. Leaf scars are linear. Bark is dark brown with streaks of light brown or green. Flower buds may appear red in winter.
LeavesOdd-pinnately compound leaves are divided into 7-9 leaflets. Leaflets are less than 1.5 inches (4.0 cm) long, obovate to elliptic, glabrous, and finely, sharply serrate. Leafstalk bases are clasping and feature whitish, fringed stipules. Deciduous.
FlowersFlowers are white to pinkish-white in terminal or axillary branched clusters. Petals are about a half inch long, and the five sepals are lanceolate and glabrous to puberulent. Blooms May - July.
FruitRose hips ripen to a glossy red and are 0.2-0.4 inch (6-9 mm) long, ovoid, and fleshy. Eventually they become firm and remain on the plant into the winter months. A medium-sized bush is capable of producing 500,000 to 1,000,000 seeds. Fruit matures September-October.
ImagesPhoto: Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
More images of Rosa multiflora
Life HistoryMultiflora rose was introduced more than 40 years ago for high quality wildlife cover, living farm fences, and windbreaks. In some states, multiflora rose was used as a crash barrier along highways. Multiflora rose spreads rapidly into adjacent fields and undisturbed areas, often forming monotypic thickets. Many states list it as a noxious weed. It belongs to the Rosaceae (Rose) family.
Multiflora rose reproduces by seed, root sprouts, and layering (rooting from the tips of arching branches). Flowers emerge from May to July and the fruits (rose hips) develop in September through October. Its prolific seeds are eaten and spread by birds and other animals. Seeds may remain viable in the soil for 10-20 years. Seedlings develop within 60 days at soil temperatures above freezing. Plants grow slowly for the first one or two years followed by rapid expansion through layering and root sprouts.
HabitatMultiflora rose will tolerate a wide range of soil and environmental conditions. It grows well in full sun or shade, loamy soils to eroded clay pans, and on moist to dry sites. Once established, multiflora rose grows rapidly forming dense, impenetrable thickets and can climb into trees.
Origin and DistributionMultiflora rose was introduced from Japan, Korea, and eastern China in 1886 as rootstock for ornamental roses. In the 1930s it was widely promoted as a "living fence" for soil conservation and in wildlife programs. Present distribution is throughout the United States with the exception of the southeastern coastal plains, Rocky Mountains, and western desert areas. In Tennessee, multiflora rose occurs throughout the state along fence rows, successional fields, and pastures. It may invade natural areas, especially fields, flood plains, and light gaps in forests.
Other states where invasive: CA, OR, CO, LA, MS, AR, MO, IL, WI, MI, IN, KY, OH, WV, VA, MD, NJ, PA, NY, VT, NH, ME, MA, RI, CT, DE, NC, SC, GA.
Federal or state listed as noxious weed, prohibited, invasive or banned: AL, CT, IN, IO, KY, MA, MO, NH, PA, SD, WV, WI.
Sources: Information on this plant page derived primarily from the Tennessee Management Manual and James H. Miller's Nonnative Invasive Plants of Southern Forests, USDA Forest Service.
Mechanical ControlsMowing/Cutting: This method is appropriate for small initial populations or environmentally sensitive areas where herbicides cannot be used. Repeated mowing or cutting will control the spread of multiflora rose, but will not eradicate it. Stems should be cut at least once per growing season as close to ground level as possible. Hand cutting of established clumps is difficult and time consuming due to the long arching stems and prolific thorns.
Biological ControlsRose Rosette Disease (RRD): Rose rosette disease is an endemic disease in the Mid-western states and effects several species of roses. The pathogen appears to be a virus or mycoplasma-like organism spread by the eriophyid mite (Phyllocoptes fructiphilus Keifer). Once infected, most plants die within one or two years with large plants surviving up to four years. Although multiflora rose seems to be the primary host, native and ornamental roses are susceptible. Current research indicates that commercially important relatives such as apples, plums, cherries, etc. are not susceptible to rose rosette disease.
RRD has spread into west and middle Tennessee and is likely to reach the eastern portion of the state in the foreseeable future. Its use as a biological control is not feasible until further research verifies the causal agent and some reliable protection is available for native and cultivated rose species.
Rose Seed Chalcid (Megastigmus aculeatus var. nigroflavus [Hoffmeyer]): The rose seed chalcid was imported from Japan with multiflora rose seed in 1917. The wasp deposits its eggs into the developing rose ovule just after petal-fall. The larvae develop in the ovules, consuming the contents of the seeds and killing them. Surveys conducted in West Virginia found 50% of viable seed infested with chalcid oviposits. Dispersal is by movement of seed by birds, which may explain the relatively low colonization rate. It is estimated that 90% of the multiflora rose in West Virginia and surrounding states will be infested by this wasp in the next 20 years or more.
Foliar Spray MethodThis method should be considered for large thickets of multi-flora rose where risk to non-target species is minimal. Air temperature should be above 65Â°F to ensure absorption of herbicides.
Glyphosate: Apply a 2% solution of glyphosate and water plus a 0.5% non-ionic surfactant thoroughly wetting all leaves. Use a low pressure and coarse spray pat-tern to reduce spray drift damage to non-target species. Glyphosate is a non-selective systemic herbicide that may kill non-target partially-sprayed plants.
Triclopyr: Apply a 2% solution of triclopyr and water plus a 0.5% non-ionic sur-factant to thoroughly wet all leaves. Use a low pressure and coarse spray pattern to reduce spray-drift damage to non-target species. Triclopyr is a selective herbicide for broadleaf species. In areas where desirable grasses are growing under or around multiflora rose, triclopyr can be used without non-target damage.
Cut Stump MethodThis control method should be considered when treating individual bushes or where the presence of desirable species preclude foliar application. This treatment remains effective at low temperatures as long as the ground is not frozen.
Glyphosate: Horizontally cut multiflora rose stems at or near ground level. Immediately apply a 25% solution of glyphosate and water to the cut stump making sure to cover the entire surface.
Triclopyr: Horizontally cut multiflora rose stems at or near ground level. Immediately apply a 25% solution of triclopyr and water to the cut stump making sure the entire surface is covered.