Multiflora Rose

Multiflora rose is one of the invasive species that the State of Maryland currently considers the most troublesome. Learn more below.

Multiflora Rose
Picturestation, “Multiflora Rose,” October 1,
2010 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution.


According to the Plant Conservation Alliance's Multiflora Rose page, multiflora rose was imported from Japan to North America in 1866. It was originally intended to serve as root stock for breeding new types of cultivated roses. Multiflora rose looks very much like cultivated roses, except that its flowers are much smaller, and it grows on long, flexible, thorny stalks, known as canes.

The Threat

Multiflora rose can be very difficult to control. Similar to cultivated roses, which thrive after being cut back, multiflora rose grows back quickly after an occasional cutting, even when cut all the way down to the ground. According to the Alliance, multiflora rose spreads in two ways: by seeds and by rooting new plants when its long canes touch down in new places. The plant is very prolific. It produces dense thickets that can quickly overtake large areas.

Control and Removal

The Alliance recommends cutting individual plants frequently — up to six times per growing season — as the most effective way to control multiflora rose. Mowing of large areas is less effective in controlling multiflora rose. The goal is to prevent all new growth from gaining a foothold. The seeds can live in the soil for several years, so repeated treatment over a number of years may be necessary. The Alliance also recommends the use of systemic herbacides in controlling large, dense multiflora rose infestations.