Multiflora rose

How do you identify it?

The shrub has stems with an arching form and thorns. Its leaves are compound and alternately arranged, and a terminal leaflet is present. It has small red fruit and white or pink flowers. Its stipules are feathery, which distinguishes it from native rose species.

Why is it invasive?

Multiflora rose can change the structure of woodlands, reducing habitat quality for nesting birds and mammals, shading out native plants and preventing forest regeneration. It prefers disturbed areas like roadsides and can establish in fields and forest edges.

How can you manage it?

Rosa multiflora can be cut or mowed, and small plants can be pulled by hand. Foliar sprays of herbicides like triclopyr and glyphosate may be useful. The cut stump method can also be used. Monitor the following year to manage sprouts. See the N.C. Forest Service leaflet for more specific herbicide information. Be sure to follow all label recommendations.

Suggested native shrub alternatives to multiflora rose that have attractive flowers and/or fruit production useful to wildlife include Carolina rose (Rosa carolina), high-bush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), black haw (Viburnum prunifolia), winterberry (Ilex verticillata) and American holly (Ilex opaca).

Learn more about multiflora rose and its impact on forests at the links below.


Invasive Species Leaflet IS03 Rosa multiflora (Multiflora Rose) (North Carolina Forest Service)
Rosa multiflora reproduces by rooting at the tips of its arching branches and by seed. In a good year, an average size R. multiflora shrub can produce 500,000 to 1,000,000 seeds. This plant has become a serious threat to natural areas not only because its seeds are widely dispersed by birds but also because of its ability to grow in diverse light, soil and moisture conditions.

Rosa multiflora (North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox)
The Multiflora Rose can be distinguished from other rose species by the fringed stipules at the base of each leaf.¬† The flowers are also small and white, compared to many wild¬†Rosa species’ pink flowers. There are virtually no herbivores that feed on this plant. That, coupled with its prolific seed production, its ability to colonize by rooting stem and to leaf out earlier than native plants in the spring, make it a fierce competitor.

Multiflora rose (Penn State Extension)
This shrub thrives on poor growing sites. It prefers full sun to moderate shade and is often found in abandoned fields, hedgerows, forest edges and roadsides. It can also survive in the shade of a mature forest. Multiflora rose is very difficult to completely eradicate both individually and on a landscape scale. It is a prolific seeder and also aggressively expands through layering. The seed bank can continue to produce new plants for up to 20 years, and fragments of the root system left behind can sprout.

Multiflora Rose: Armed and Dangerous Invasive (Blue Ridge PRISM)
Multiflora rose forms dense thickets by three methods: rooting at the tips of its long, arching canes, forming new crowns and canes from its spreading root system and producing abundant fruit. Migrating and wintering birds eat the berry-like fruit (rosehips) and spread the seeds far and wide.

Fact Sheet: Multiflora rose (Plant Conservation Alliance
Mechanical and chemical methods are currently the most widely used methods for managing multiflora rose. Frequent repeated cutting or mowing (three to six times per growing season for two to four years) is effective in achieving high mortality of multiflora rose.