Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora)

White flowers leaves image
White flowers of multiflora rose. Photo by Wisconsion DNR. Leaves of multiflora rose.


Appearance: Dense multi-stemmed shrubs can reach 8-13 feet tall and 9-13 feet wide.  The stems often have an arching or drooping appearance.

Leaves and stems: Alternate, pinnately compound leaves, 4-6 inches long with serrated edges.  Each leaf usually has 7 or 9 leaflets.  Fringed stipules at the base of each leaf.  Native roses have smooth stipules with no fringe.  Multiflora rose has thick curved thorns while native roses have thinner, straighter thorns.

Flowers: White to slightly pink, blooms mid to late spring.  Native roses have pink flowers (some are very light pink).

Fruit: Small (diameter less than 0.25 in.) red to brownish-red fruit (rose hips).  Plant produces up to 500,000 seeds per year.  Fruits can be eaten and spread by birds and wildlife.  Seeds in the soil can remain viable for 10-20 years.

Roots: Branches that contact the soil can produce roots.  New plants can develop from shallow roots.

Ecological Threat:

  • Invades forest edges, woodlands, oak savannas, prairies, fields, pastures, and roadsides.
  • Forms dense thickets which are painful to walk through and reduce populations of native plants.
  • Reduces grazing quality by invading pastures and grazing lands.
  • Multiflora rose was brought to the US from Japan in 1866 for rootstock for ornamental roses.  Starting in the 1930s multiflora rose was widely planted in the US.
  • Multiflora rose is a MDA Restricted Noxious Weed in Minnesota. Importation, transportation, and sale of multiflora rose propagating parts is prohibited.


Control Methods:


  • Pull seedlings in small infestations when soil is moist.  Larger plants can be pulled using hand tools.
  • Prescribed burning will kill seedlings and top kill mature shrubs, repeated burns may be needed to control infestations.


  • Cut-stump treatment with glyphosate or triclopyr; cut-stump or basal bark spray treatment around the stem with triclopyr.
  • Foliar spray with glyphosate or triclopyr solution.


  • Rose rosette disease is a native virus that is spread by a eriophyid mite (Phyllocoptes frutiphilus) and can be fatal to multiflora rose. However, it can also infect other members of the rose family such as native roses and plums, apples, and ornamental roses.


Native Substitutes:

Additional Resources