SPECIES: Rosa multiflora
|© K.R. Robertson/Illinois Natural History Survey||© John Cardina/Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center|
The following biogeographic classification systems demonstrate where multiflora rose could potentially be found based on reported occurrence.
Precise distribution information is lacking because of gaps in understanding
of biological and ecological characteristics of nonnative species and because
introduced species may still be expanding their range. These
lists are speculative and may not be accurately restrictive or complete.
FRES10 White-red-jack pine
FRES12 Longleaf-slash pine
FRES13 Loblolly-shortleaf pine
FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES22 Western white pine
FRES24 Hemlock-Sitka spruce
FRES28 Western hardwoods
FRES32 Texas savanna
FRES34 Chaparral-mountain shrub
Multiflora rose is listed as a "characteristic shrub" of the successional shrubland community-type in New York .
The preceding description provides characteristics of multiflora rose that may be relevant to fire ecology and is not meant to be used for identification. Keys for identifying multiflora rose are available in various floras (e.g. [33,70]). Photos and descriptions of multiflora rose are also available online from Missouri Department of Conservation and the Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council. Check with the native plant society or cooperative extension service in your state for more information.
The biology and ecology of multiflora rose are not well-studied. More research
is needed to better understand its life-history and other biological traits,
habitat requirements and limitations, and interactions with native North
American flora and fauna.
RAUNKIAER  LIFE FORM:
Breeding system: No information
Pollination: No information
Seed production: Individual plants may produce up to 500,000 seeds per year .
Seed dispersal: Most plants develop from seeds that fall relatively close to the parent plant . Some seeds are dispersed by birds and mammals [24,26,88]. Hips remain on the plant and dry to a dense, leathery capsule [24,26,78].
Seed banking: Seeds may remain viable in the soil for 10 to 20 years, but detailed information on seed longevity is lacking .
Germination: Germination success may be enhanced by scarification from passing through bird digestive tracts .
Seedling establishment/growth: No information
Multiflora rose reproduces asexually by root suckering and layering [24,46,63,78].
Multiflora rose frequently colonizes roadsides, old fields, pastures, prairies, savannas, open woodlands, and forest edges, and may also invade dense forests where disturbance provides canopy gaps [19,40,78]. It is most productive in sunny areas with well-drained soils.
Multiflora rose is tolerant of a wide range of soil and environmental conditions, but is not found
in standing water or in extremely dry areas. Its northern distribution is thought to be
limited by intolerance to extreme cold temperatures, but specific information is lacking .
Multiflora rose is most commonly mentioned as a component of early-successional communities, such as in abandoned agricultural and pasture lands in the eastern U.S. For example, Foster and Gross  demonstrated how multiflora rose can gradually colonize abandoned agricultural fields in southwestern Michigan. Multiflora rose is an important component in early-successional communities of abandoned agricultural fields in New Jersey, particularly 14-22 years after abandonment .
Although descriptions of establishment ecology are absent from the literature, it seems apparent from sites where multiflora rose is present, that it is not limited to a specific successional stage. For example, the following table provides data on frequency of multiflora rose occurrence within sampled plots representing several different successional stages or habitats in a southeastern Pennsylvania natural area .
|Habitat||Description||Frequency (% of plots containing multiflora rose)|
|old field||abandoned agricultural land, dominated by herbaceous and low shrub species||38%|
|thicket||old fields that have been densely colonized by small trees and shrubs||56%|
|woodland||even-age, 60-70 year-old early-seral forest||50%|
|mature forest||mixed mesophytic and mixed oak associations||17%|
In part because its seeds are bird dispersed, multiflora rose can colonize gaps in late-successional forests, even though these forests are thought to be relatively resistant to invasion by nonnative species . However, without extensive or recurrent disturbance, multiflora rose is probably not a serious long-term invasion threat in mature forests. It will likely be shaded out by surrounding trees and shade-tolerant shrubs [42,68].
In addition to more research on establishment of multiflora rose,
studies examining longevity of established colonies and their effects on
succession of native communities would be valuable.
Flowering occurs from late April through June, depending on location [19,24,46,70]. Fruits develop by late summer [24,70] and often persist until spring [26,78].
Many native Rosa spp. survive low- to moderate-severity fire by sprouting from rhizomes or root crowns, and may germinate from on-site or off-site seed sources (see FEIS fire ecology summaries for prickly rose (R. acicularis), baldhip rose (R. gymnocarpa), Nootka rose (R. nutkana), and Wood's rose (R. woodsii) on this website).
Fire adaptations: No information
Fire regimes: The following table lists fire return intervals for communities or ecosystems throughout North America where multiflora rose may occur. This list is meant as a guideline to illustrate historic fire regimes and is not to be interpreted as a strict description of fire regimes for multiflora rose.
|Community or Ecosystem||Dominant Species||Fire Return Interval Range (years)|
|silver fir-Douglas-fir||Abies amabilis-Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii||> 200|
|grand fir||Abies grandis||35-200 |
|sugar maple||Acer saccharum||> 1000|
|sugar maple-basswood||Acer saccharum-Tilia americana||> 1000 |
|California chaparral||Adenostoma and/or Arctostaphylos spp.||< 35 to < 100 |
|bluestem prairie||Andropogon gerardii var. gerardii-Schizachyrium scoparium||< 10 [48,64]|
|Nebraska sandhills prairie||Andropogon gerardii var. paucipilus-Schizachyrium scoparium||< 10|
|bluestem-Sacahuista prairie||Andropogon littoralis-Spartina spartinae||< 10|
|California montane chaparral||Ceanothus and/or Arctostaphylos spp.||50-100 |
|sugarberry-America elm-green ash||Celtis laevigata-Ulmus americana-Fraxinus pennsylvanica||< 35 to 200|
|Atlantic white-cedar||Chamaecyparis thyoides||35 to > 200|
|beech-sugar maple||Fagus spp.-Acer saccharum||> 1000 |
|California steppe||Festuca-Danthonia spp.||< 35|
|juniper-oak savanna||Juniperus ashei-Quercus virginiana||< 35|
|Ashe juniper||Juniperus ashei||< 35|
|western juniper||Juniperus occidentalis||20-70|
|cedar glades||Juniperus virginiana||3-7 |
|yellow-poplar||Liriodendron tulipifera||< 35|
|southeastern spruce-fir||Picea-Abies spp.||35 to > 200 |
|red spruce*||P. rubens||35-200 |
|pine-cypress forest||Pinus-Cupressus spp.||< 35 to 200 |
|pinyon-juniper||Pinus-Juniperus spp.||< 35 |
|jack pine||Pinus banksiana||<35 to 200 |
|shortleaf pine||Pinus echinata||2-15|
|shortleaf pine-oak||Pinus echinata-Quercus spp.||< 10|
|slash pine||Pinus elliottii||3-8|
|slash pine-hardwood||Pinus elliottii-variable||< 35|
|sand pine||Pinus elliottii var. elliottii||25-45 |
|Jeffrey pine||Pinus jeffreyi||5-30|
|western white pine*||Pinus monticola||50-200 |
|longleaf-slash pine||Pinus palustris-P. elliottii||1-4 [59,86]|
|longleaf pine-scrub oak||Pinus palustris-Quercus spp.||6-10 |
|Pacific ponderosa pine*||Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa||1-47 |
|interior ponderosa pine*||Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum||2-30 [3,6,50]|
|red pine (Great Lakes region)||Pinus resinosa||10-200 (10**) [18,30]|
|red-white-jack pine*||Pinus resinosa-P. strobus-P. banksiana||10-300 [18,38]|
|pitch pine||Pinus rigida||6-25 [13,39]|
|eastern white pine||Pinus strobus||35-200|
|eastern white pine-eastern hemlock||Pinus strobus-Tsuga canadensis||35-200|
|eastern white pine-northern red oak-red maple||Pinus strobus-Quercus rubra-Acer rubrum||35-200|
|loblolly pine||Pinus taeda||3-8|
|loblolly-shortleaf pine||Pinus taeda-P. echinata||10 to < 35|
|Virginia pine||Pinus virginiana||10 to < 35|
|Virginia pine-oak||Pinus virginiana-Quercus spp.||10 to < 35 |
|eastern cottonwood||Populus deltoides||< 35 to 200 |
|aspen-birch||Populus tremuloides-Betula papyrifera||35-200 [18,86]|
|quaking aspen (west of the Great Plains)||Populus tremuloides||7-120 [3,35,56]|
|mesquite||Prosopis glandulosa||< 35 to < 100 [55,64]|
|mesquite-buffalo grass||Prosopis glandulosa-Buchloe dactyloides||< 35 |
|black cherry-sugar maple||Prunus serotina-Acer saccharum||> 1000 |
|Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir*||Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca||25-100 [3,4,5]|
|coastal Douglas-fir*||Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii||40-240 [3,58,67]|
|California mixed evergreen||Pseudotsuga menziesii var. m.-Lithocarpus densiflorus-Arbutus menziesii||< 35|
|California oakwoods||Quercus spp.||< 35 |
|oak-hickory||Quercus-Carya spp.||< 35|
|oak-juniper woodland (Southwest)||Quercus-Juniperus spp.||< 35 to < 200 |
|northeastern oak-pine||Quercus-Pinus spp.||10 to < 35 |
|oak-gum-cypress||Quercus-Nyssa-spp.-Taxodium distichum||35 to > 200 |
|southeastern oak-pine||Quercus-Pinus spp.||< 10 |
|coast live oak||Quercus agrifolia||<35 to 200 |
|white oak-black oak-northern red oak||Quercus alba-Q. velutina-Q. rubra||< 35 |
|canyon live oak||Quercus chrysolepis||<35 to 200|
|blue oak-foothills pine||Quercus douglasii-Pinus sabiniana||<35 |
|northern pin oak||Quercus ellipsoidalis||< 35 |
|Oregon white oak||Quercus garryana||< 35 |
|bear oak||Quercus ilicifolia||< 35 >|
|California black oak||Quercus kelloggii||5-30 |
|bur oak||Quercus macrocarpa||< 10 |
|oak savanna||Quercus macrocarpa/Andropogon gerardii-Schizachyrium scoparium||2-14 [64,86]|
|chestnut oak||Q. prinus||3-8|
|northern red oak||Quercus rubra||10 to < 35|
|post oak-blackjack oak||Quercus stellata-Q. marilandica||< 10|
|black oak||Quercus velutina||< 35|
|live oak||Quercus virginiana||10 to< 100 |
|interior live oak||Quercus wislizenii||< 35 |
|cabbage palmetto-slash pine||Sabal palmetto-Pinus elliottii||< 10 [59,86]|
|blackland prairie||Schizachyrium scoparium-Nassella leucotricha||< 10|
|Fayette prairie||Schizachyrium scoparium-Buchloe dactyloides||< 10|
|little bluestem-grama prairie||Schizachyrium scoparium-Bouteloua spp.||< 35 |
|redwood||Sequoia sempervirens||5-200 [3,28,76]|
|western redcedar-western hemlock||Thuja plicata-Tsuga heterophylla||> 200 |
|eastern hemlock-yellow birch||Tsuga canadensis-Betula alleghaniensis||> 200 |
|western hemlock-Sitka spruce||Tsuga heterophylla-Picea sitchensis||> 200 |
|elm-ash-cottonwood||Ulmus-Fraxinus-Populus spp.||< 35 to 200 [18,86]|
The Research Project Summary Effects of experimental burning on understory plants in a temperate deciduous forest in Ohio provides information on prescribed fire and postfire response of plant community species, including multiflora rose, that was not available when this species review was written.DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE:
While a single prescribed fire is unlikely to eradicate multiflora rose, periodic burning may control its spread and eventually reduce its presence. Any management activity that removes aboveground tissue, prevents seed production, and depletes energy reserves is likely to impact multiflora rose invasiveness, especially when conducted persistently. Periodic fire may also promote desirable native plants. Prescribed burning in Texas for controlling Macartney rose improved native grass yields, especially following winter burns .
Palatability/nutritional value: Nutritional Information for fruits (hips) of multiflora rose :
(% dry matter)
(% dry matter)
(% dry matter)
Cover value: Multiflora rose is used for cover during all times of year by cottontail rabbits, white-tailed deer, pheasants, and mice [36,42]. It is a preferred nesting site species for gray catbirds . Southwestern willow flycatchers, a federally-listed endangered species, were observed nesting in multiflora rose in New Mexico .OTHER USES:
Detailed quantitative studies are needed to assess the impacts of multiflora rose on native ecosystems. Research that documents parameters such as rate of spread or species and numbers of native plants displaced would help in understanding how to manage areas where multiflora rose might be a problem.
Control: Controlling multiflora rose requires determined, persistent effort. Well-established populations are unlikely to be eradicated with a single treatment, regardless of method. Because seeds remain viable in soil for many years, and because new seeds may be continually imported by birds and other animals, effective management requires post-treatment monitoring and spot treatment as needed for an indeterminate time to prevent reinvasion .
For more information on multiflora rose control methods see Ohio State University Extension, Missouri Department of Conservation, Illinois Department of Natural Resources or West Virginia University Extension websites.
Prevention: Cultural practices that enhance vigor of desired plant species can create an environment less favorable for establishment of multiflora rose . Mowing pastures several times per year will prevent seedling establishment. Avoiding overgrazing may also help prevent multiflora rose establishment (see grazing/browsing section below) .
Integrated management: No information
Physical/mechanical: Multiflora rose can be controlled by periodic mowing or cutting of individual plants. For pre-existing infestations, 3 to 6 mowings or cuttings per year, repeated for 2 to 4 years, is recommended. Painting or spraying cut stems with herbicides expedites control by killing root systems and preventing resprouting . Another approach is to follow an initial mowing with foliar applied herbicide once plants have resprouted  (see chemical control section below). In high quality natural areas, cutting individual stems may be preferable to mowing, since repeated mowing might damage sensitive native plants. For large infestations, mowing may be preferable due to efficiency. Mowing equipment may be susceptible to frequent flat tires from multiflora rose thorns . Periodic annual mowing can also prevent multiflora rose seedlings from becoming established . Removal of entire plants may be feasible in high quality natural areas when populations are sparse enough. Removal of the entire root system is required to ensure no regrowth from suckering .
Fire: See Fire Management Considerations.
Biological: Multiflora rose is highly susceptible to rose rosette disease (RRD), which is transmitted by the eriophyid mite Phyllocoptes fructiphilus [1,2]. The virus-like agent that causes RRD remains of uncertain etiology as of this writing (2002). Symptoms include reddened, damaged foliage, shortened petioles (producing the telltale "rosette" appearance), severely reduced flowering and fruiting, and eventually, severely retarded apical growth. In general, smaller plants are killed by the disease within 2-3 years of initial symptoms, while larger, multi-crowned plants may survive for as long as 4-5 years. Plants growing in full sun appear to succumb more rapidly than shaded plants .
Multiflora rose is often severely impacted by RRD where their ranges overlap. The disease agent and the mite vector are native to North America . RRD was first found on ornamental roses and Wood's rose, a common wild rose also native to western North America. RRD is currently expanding its range in the eastern United States, where multiflora rose is more common . Based on field experiments, Amrine and Stasny  project that RRD "has the potential to eliminate over 90 % of the multiflora roses in areas of dense stands."
RRD can also be transmitted to healthy multiflora rose plants by grafting buds from symptomatic plants. This technique may be useful in augmenting natural dispersal of RRD to improve its effectiveness as a biological control agent against multiflora rose. Introducing a few infected grafts into relatively dense stands can potentially lead to widespread infection within a multiflora rose population. Graft-infected plants subsequently become colonized by mites, which in turn become vectors transmitting RRD to other plants within the augmented stand, as well as spreading the disease to other nearby populations [22,23].
The host range of RRD appears to be limited to multiflora rose and ornamental hybrid rose varieties . RRD does not seem to adversely affect native North American roses, and tests of many important wild and cultivated fruit-producing species showed no apparent risk [2,23]. While RRD can infect ornamental roses, infected source plants (multiflora rose) located > 330 feet (100 m) away are unlikely to spread infectious agents to susceptible hybrid varieties .
Epstein and Hill  provide a more detailed review of the status of RRD as a biological control agent for multiflora rose.
Another potential biocontrol agent is the rose seed chalcid (Megastigmus aculeatus), a Japanese wasp that has become established in the eastern United States. The adult wasps oviposit into developing multiflora rose ovules, where larvae later consume seeds . Surveys in North Carolina revealed an average of 62% of viable seed infested with larvae . Colonization of new multiflora rose populations by the rose seed chalcid is apparently slow. Wasps are dispersed with the seed as eggs. Since many multiflora rose populations originated from cuttings, with no accompanying seed chalcid eggs, many recently established populations have not yet been infested. However, as the rose seed chalcid gradually spreads, it should begin to greatly impact multiflora rose populations in the eastern United States, especially when combined with the parallel effects of rose rosette disease . The rose seed chalcid is probably not a factor in areas that experience severe cold, since the larvae overwinter in multiflora rose hips and are adversely affected .
Grazing/Browsing: Defoliation experiments indicate periodic browsing of foliage by livestock may effectively control multiflora rose . Domestic sheep and goats will feed on leaves, new buds, and new shoots . Foraging goats in pastures with severe multiflora rose infestations resulted in the virtual elimination of multiflora rose within 4 seasons. New shoots were observed during 2 subsequent seasons of no goat foraging, and these shoots were thought to be of both sprout and seed origin . Cattle are much less effective in controlling multiflora rose . While periodically foraging livestock in infested areas may be an effective control method, overgrazed pastures are presumably more susceptible to colonization from off-site seed sources .
Chemical: Where appropriate, herbicides may be an effective means of controlling multiflora rose, especially when used in combination with other methods. Below is a list of herbicides that have been tested and judged effective for controlling multiflora rose in North America, as well as a brief discussion of important considerations regarding their use. This is not intended as an exhaustive review of chemical control methods. For more information regarding appropriate use of herbicides against invasive plant species in natural areas, see The Nature Conservancy's Weed control methods handbook. For more information specific to herbicide use against multiflora rose, see Ohio State University Extension, Missouri Department of Conservation, or Pennsylvania State University Extension websites.
|glyphosate [7,75,78]||Glyphosate is recommended for "cut-stem" method . It is a non-selective herbicide that kills most other plants that it contacts. It has low toxicity to animals and it rapidly binds to soil particles making it relatively immobile .|
|triclopyr [7,78,82]||Triclopyr is recommended for "cut-stem" method . It is also recommended for dormant-season basal bark treatment. It may volatilize when exposed to high temperatures (80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (27- 29° C)) . It is selective against dicots. The ester formulation of triclopyr can be persistent in aquatic environments and should not be applied in wetland habitats .|
|picloram [7,75,82]||Picloram may be mobile in soil solution and can leach into nearby surface water [57,79]. It exhibits long residence time in the environment .|
|fosamine||Fosamine only kills woody spp. . It may be mobile in soil solution .|
|dicamba ||Dicamba is selective against broadleaf vegetation. It is best applied during flowering and rapid growth (May-June) . It is also recommended for dormant-season basal bark treatment . Dicamba may volatilize when exposed to high temperatures (80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (27- 29° C)) . It is highly mobile in soil and may contaminate ground water .|
|dicamba + 2,4-D ||See considerations for dicamba, above.|
|metsulfuron [17,81]||Persistence in soil varies widely, but degradation is most rapid under acidic, moist, and warm conditions .|
Foliar spraying is effective throughout the growing season as long as leaves are fully formed. Some herbicides may volatilize when temperatures exceed 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (27- 29° C) and are best applied in early spring . Some variation in herbicide effectiveness during different stages of the growing season has been observed, but is probably not related to differences in carbohydrate reserves .
Dormant season application is also effective, and further reduces nontarget mortality . Basal bark treatment, applied to the lower 18 to 24 inches (46-61 cm) of the stem and onto the root crown, is a recommended chemical control method for dormant season application. Plants should be dormant and several weeks from bud break (usually January- March), and treatments should only be conducted when soil is not frozen, snow-covered, or water-saturated to avoid runoff . Follow-up monitoring and retreatment during the subsequent growing season may be required to ensure effectiveness .Cultural: No information
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