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Multiflora rose is a thorny perennial shrub with arching stems and leaves divided into five to 11 leaflets. Beginning in May or June, showy, white to pink flowers, each about an inch in diameter, appear on the plant. During the summer it will develop small bright-red fruits, which become leathery and will remain on the plant through the winter.

A native of Japan, Korea, and eastern China, multiflora rose was introduced to the U.S. in 1866 as rootstock for ornamental roses. Since then it has been used as a livestock barrier, a crash barrier on highways, and as cover for wildlife. Today it occurs in dense woods and prairies, along stream banks and roadsides, and in open fields and pastures.

Multiflora rose reproduces by seed and by forming new plants from the tips of arching canes that contact the ground. Birds are the primary dispersers of its seed, and an average plant may produce a million seeds per year with seeds remaining viable for 20 years. This plant is extremely aggressive and can form impenetrable thickets that exclude native vegetation.

Cutting or mowing multiflora rose six times per growing season for three to four years has proven effective. Herbicides are effective but follow-up treatments may be necessary due to the long-lived seeds.
More Resources:

U.S. Forest Service
Element Stewardship Abstract
Plant Conservation Alliance
Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Manual


Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas
Pennsylvania State University
Fire Effects Information System


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