Japan, Korea, and eastern China
Multiflora rose is a thorny,
perennial shrub with arching stems (canes), and leaves divided into five
to eleven sharply toothed leaflets. The base of each leaf stalk bears a pair
of fringed bracts. Beginning in May or June, clusters of showy, fragrant,
white to pink flowers appear, each about an inch across. Small bright red
fruits, or rose hips, develop during the summer, becoming leathery, and remain
on the plant through the winter.
Multiflora rose is
extremely prolific and can form impenetrable thickets that exclude native
plant species. This exotic rose readily invades open woodlands, forest edges,
successional fields, savannas and prairies that have been subjected to land
IN THE UNITED STATES
Multiflora rose occurs throughout the U.S., with
the exception of the Rocky Mountains, the southeastern Coastal Plain and
the deserts of California and Nevada.
HABITAT IN THE UNITED STATES
rose has a wide tolerance for various soil, moisture, and light conditions.
It occurs in dense woods, prairies, along stream banks and roadsides and
in open fields and pastures.
rose was introduced to the East Coast from Japan in 1866 as rootstock for
ornamental roses. Beginning in the 1930s, the U.S. Soil Conservation Service
promoted it for use in erosion control and as "living fences" to confine
livestock. State conservation departments soon discovered value in multiflora
rose as wildlife cover for pheasant, bobwhite quail, and cottontail rabbit
and as food for songbirds and encouraged its use by distributing rooted cuttings
to landowners free of charge. More recently, multiflora rose has been planted
in highway median strips to serve as crash barriers and to reduce automobile
headlight glare. Its tenacious and unstoppable growth habit was eventually
recognized as a problem on pastures and unplowed lands, where it disrupted
cattle grazing. For these reasons, multiflora rose is classified as a noxious
weed in several states, including Iowa, Ohio, West Virginia, and New Jersey.
BIOLOGY & SPREAD
reproduces by seed and by forming new plants that root from the tips of arching
canes that contact the ground. Fruits are readily sought after by birds which
are the primary dispersers of its seed. It has been estimated that an average
multiflora rose plant may produce a million seeds per year, which may remain
viable in the soil for up to twenty years. Germination of multiflora rose
seeds is enhanced by passing through the digestive tract of birds.
Mechanical and chemical methods are currently the most widely
used methods for managing multiflora rose. Frequent, repeated cutting or
mowing at the rate of three to six times per growing season, for two to
four years, has been shown to be effective in achieving high mortality
of multiflora rose. In high quality natural communities, cutting of individual
plants is preferred to site mowing to minimize habitat disturbance. Various
herbicides have been used successfully in controlling multiflora rose but,
because of the long-lived stores of seed in the soil, follow-up treatments
are likely to be necessary. Application of systemic herbicides (e.g., glyphosate)
to freshly cut stumps or to regrowth may be the most effective methods,
especially if conducted late in the growing season. Plant growth regulators
have been used to control the spread of multiflora rose by preventing fruit
Biological control is not
yet available for management of multiflora rose. However, researchers are
options, including a native viral pathogen (rose-rosette disease), which
is spread by a tiny native mite, and a seed-infesting wasp, the European
rose chalcid. Rose-rosette disease, native to the western U.S., has been
spreading easterwardly at a slow pace and is thought to hold the potential
for eliminating multiflora rose in areas where it grows in dense patches.
An important drawback to both the rose rosette virus and the European rose
chalcid is their potential impact to other rose species and cultivars.
USE PESTICIDES WISELY: ALWAYS READ THE ENTIRE PESTICIDE LABEL CAREFULLY, FOLLOW ALL MIXING AND APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS AND WEAR ALL RECOMMENDED PERSONAL PROTECTIVE GEAR AND CLOTHING. CONTACT YOUR STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOR ANY ADDITIONAL PESTICIDE USE REQUIREMENTS, RESTRICTIONS OR RECOMMENDATIONS.
NOTICE: MENTION OF PESTICIDE PRODUCTS ON THIS WEB SITE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ENDORSEMENT OF ANY MATERIAL.
For more information on multiflora rose
management, please contact:
- Robert J. Richardson, Aquatic and Noncropland
Weed Management, Crop Science Department, Box 7620, North Carolina State
University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7620, (919) 515-5653, Rob_Richardson at ncsu.edu
SUGGESTED ALTERNATIVE PLANTS
shrubs and trees for land restoration and landscaping purposes is one way to
prevent invasions by multiflora rose.
Carole Bergmann, Montgomery County Department
of Parks, Silver Spring, MD
Jil M. Swearingen, National Park Service,
John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy, Davis,
Barry A. Rice, The Nature Conservancy, Davis, CA
John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy, Davis, CA
Albaugh, G.P., W.H. Mitchell, and J.C. Graham.
1977. Evaluation of glyphosate for multiflora rose control. Proceedings of
the New England Weed Science Society, vol. 31, pp. 283-291.
Amrine, J.W., Jr. and T.A. Stasny. 1993. Biological
control of multiflora rose. Pp. 9-21. In McKnight, B.N.(ed.). Biological
Pollution. Indiana Acad. Sci., Indianapolis. 261 pp.
Evans, J.E. 1983. A literature review of management
practices for multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora). Natural Areas Journal
Fawcett, R.S. 1980. Today's weed--multiflora
rose. Weeds Today 11: 22-23.
Swearingen, J. 2009. WeedUS Database of Plants Invading Natural Areas in the United States: Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora). http://www.invasive.org/weedus/subject.html?sub=3071.
Szafone, R. 1991. Vegetation Management Guidelines:
Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora Thunb.). Natural Areas Journal 11(4):215-216.
The Nature Conservancy. Multiflora
Rose: Element Stewardship Abstract. In: Wildland Weeds Management & Research
Program, Weeds on the Web.
USDA, NRCS. 2009. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.
Wyman, D. 1949. Shrubs and vines for American
gardens. New York: MacMillan Co., 613 pp.
Plant Conservation Alliance, Alien Plant Working Group.