Multiflora rose in April
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
Multiflora rose is native to Japan, Korea and eastern China. It was introduced into the U.S. for ornamental purposes in the mid to late 1800s.
Keywords: Rosaceae, perennial, shrub, thorns, toothed leaflets, fragrant flowers, rose hips, thickets; Common names: baby rose, Japanese rose, rambler rose
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Multiflora rose distribution
Multiflora rose is a thorny, perennial shrub in the rose family. It grows to 10-15 ft. in height and 9-13 ft. in width. Its stems are wide arching canes covered with hard thorns. Leaves are alternate, pinnately compound, and have 5 to 11 sharply toothed oval leaflets. Clusters of showy, fragrant, white to pink flowers 0.5-1 in. wide with 5 petals begin blooming in May or June. Small bright red fruits, or rose hips, develop during the summer, become leathery, and remain on the plant through the winter. Multiflora rose reproduces by seed and from tips of arching canes that contact the ground. Its fruits are sought after by birds, the primary dispersers of its seed. An average plant may produce a million seeds per year, which may remain viable in the soil for up to 20 years. Multiflora rose thrives in full and partial sun with well-drained soils. It grows in old fields, pastures, prairies, roadsides, and open woods, and invades a large number of habitats such as hillside pastures, fence rows, rights-of-way, roadsides, forest edges, and margins of swamps and marshes. Multiflora rose is extremely prolific and can form impenetrable thickets that exclude native plant species.