Multiflora Rose


Rosa multiflora is a densely spreading perenniala plant whose growth dies down annually but whose roots or other underground parts survive shrub that can grow up to 15 feet tall. It has glabroussmooth; free from hairs arching canes that can be red to green in color. Most Rosa multiflora plants have thorns, but there have been some plants observed without. The leaves are alternate and pinnately compound, with 5-11 serrated, elliptic leaflets that are 1-1.5 inches long. These leaves are smooth and dark above and pale with small hairs below. The stipules are pectinately toothed. This plant produces fragrant flowers during May and June. Each inflorescence bears many flowers, and the flowers have five white (or sometimes pink) petals and numerous stamens. Red fruits develop in mid to late summer, are nearly spherical and measure 0.25-0.3 inches in diameter.


Rosa multiflora prefers deep, fertile, well drained but moist upland or bottomland habitats with a mild climate. It can be found along roadsides, in pastures, woodlands, prairies, fields and powerline corridors.

History and Introduction

Rosa multiflora was introduced in 1886 from Japan to the United States as rootstock for cultivated roses. From 1930 to 1960 the U.S. Soil Conservation Service advocated its use as a component of living fences and erosion control plans. As late as 1960 its planting was still encouraged for wildlife food and cover. It most likely made its way to New England via bird dispersal or roadside plantings.


Rosa multiflora is widely distributed across the country because of its ability to endure a wide range of edaphic and environmental conditions. Rosa multiflora rapidly outcompetes surrounding vegetation, takes over pastures, and lowers crop yields. It forms dense, impenetrable thickets. The canes send up shoots when they come in contact with soil.

Dispersal Methods

A single Rosa multiflora plant can produce 500,000 or more seeds. These seeds can remain viable for 10-20 years in the seed bank. Rosa multiflora's hipsthe red colored berries produced by Rosa Multifora which contain many seeds and seeds are dispersed by birds, especially the mockingbird, cedar waxwing and American robin.



Cutting or mowing at the rate of three to six times per growing season, for two to four years is effective.


It can be effectively controlled using any of several readily available general use herbicides such as glyphosatea widely used herbicide that can kill certain weeds and grasses, it works by blocking an enzyme essential for plant growth or triclopyrherbicide used to control both broadleaf and woody plants. Because of the long-lived stores of seed in the soil, follow-up treatments may be necessary. Follow label and state requirements. 


Four agents show potential for biological control in the US. Rosa multiflora is vulnerable to defoliation by Japanese beetles. It also suffers from rose rosette disease, a virus-like disease that causes plants to turn a deep red color, sprout broom-like growth, and produce more thorns than usual.

Multiflora Rose Flowers

Multiflora Rose Flowers

Scientific Name

Rosa multiflora

Other Nicknames

Baby Rose, Japanese Rose, Many-Flowered Rose, Seven-Sisters Rose, Eijitsu Rose, Rambler Rose, Multiflowered Rose

Native Area


Similar Species

Scotch Rose (Rosa spinosissima), Memorial Rose (Rosa wichuraiana)

View Multiflora Rose Flyer (Printable PDF)

Multiflora Rose Hips

Multiflora Rose Hips

Multiflora Rose Branch

Multiflora Rose Branch

Multiflora Rose Bush

Multiflora Rose Bush

Multiflora Rose Flowers - Famartin, Wikimedia Commons | Multiflora Rose Hips - Vilseskogen, Flickr | Multiflora Rose Branch - NYSIPM, Flickr | Multiflora Rose Bush - Famartin, Wikimedia Commons