Rosa multiflora
Rose Rosette Disease Host

Rosa multiflora is a wild rose bush which has naturalized in various parts of the U.S. It is the primary host of rose rosette disease and can cause the virus to spread to other rose plants.

<i>Rosa multiflora</i> in bloom in Alabama in May.

R. multiflora blooming in Alabama in May.

Photo by James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service,

The fragrant white inch wide flowers of multiflora roses could easily deceive you into believing that the multiflora rose bush is a harmless garden ornamental.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

This is one beautiful shrub rose that you want to keep OUT of your garden.

<i>Rosa multiflora</i> bloom cluster. Photo by James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service,

The pretty flowers come in clusters which form at the branch tips in early summer. They are usually white but there is also a pink form.

<i>Rosa multiflora</i> with pink flowers.

Picture of the pink blooms of Rosa multiflora var. cathayensis

Photo by Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,

The plant these flowers appear on is a scrambling shrub that can easily reach a height of 15 feet. The long arching stems are lined with 5 inch long compound leaves bearing 5-9 leaflets and distinguished by their feathered stipules. <i>Rosa multiflora</i> leaves.

Photo by Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,

These stipules will come in handy in making a positive identification when the rose is not in bloom.

Another thing that may aid you in identifying multifloras is the small but numerous bright red hips that form after the flowers drop.

<i>Rosa multiflora</i> hips.

Photo by James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service,

When this east Asian native was first introduced into the U.S. it was thought to be a usefull and ornamental rose bush.

It grows thickly enough to be used as a hedge rose and can prevent soil erosion. Goats are fond of its leaves and birds enjoy feasting on its hips.

Add in the fact that it flowers much more heavily than wild roses native to the U.S. whose blooms do not occur in clusters and you surely have a desirable garden plant, right?


What nobody realized (until it was too late) is that multiflora roses form chocking thickets. They scramble over and smother all the weaker plants around them.

And they don't stay put. The birds eat the hips and deposit them all over the neighborhood where they sprout into new multiflora monsters.

Several states have declared it a noxious weed and are taking steps to eradicate--or at least control--it.

If you need a further reason not to plant this rose, I've got one:

Rose Rosette Disease

Rose rosette disease is a viral rose disease spread by a tiny insect. The virus is specific to roses with Rosa multiflora being its primary host.

The problem is that the virus can spread from multifloras to other roses and KILL them.

Rose rosette disease is deadly and there is currently no cure for it.

Herbicides Used to Control R. multiflora

Herbicide containing 2, 4-D:

Herbicides which do not contain 2, 4-D:

Rose Diseases
Preventing common rose diseases. Treatment of rose bush diseases. Rose plant diseases in Florida. Downy mildew, powdery mildew on roses, rose rust disease, black spot rose bush disease, rose rosette disease.

Carefree Delight Rose Bush
The Carefree Delight rose bush was hybridized by the House of Meilland and introduced in 1994. It is one of the most disease resistant of the Modern Shrub roses. Carefree Delight is mildly fragrant.

The Green Rose
The Green rose, Rosa chinensis viridiflora, is an old heirloom China rose. Its green colored rose are the result of a chance mutation. The petals of this green rose flower are actually sepals.

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