Multiflora Rose
Rosa multifloraRosaceae
Whole Plant
Whole PlantFlowerFruitStem
Photos (c) Cheryl Comeau Beaton unless otherwise noted


  • Rosa cathayensis

The Plant:

  • A thorny shrub or woody vine with arching branches that give it a fountain shape. Plants are densely spreading, and may reach 15 feet tall. Deciduous.

The Leaves:

  • alternate
  • pinnately compound
  • 5 to 11 leaflets
  • serrated
  • elliptic
  • 1-1.5 inches long
  • smooth, dark above
  • small hairs and pale below
  • feathery or comb-like margin on stipules at base of leaf stalks

The Stem:

  • red to green
  • glabrous
  • long
  • arching
  • older stems woody
  • recurved thorns

The Flowers:

  • Fragrant, white or pink five-petaled flowers with many stamens. Blooms from May to June.

The Fruits:

  • red fruit (rose hips)
  • mid to late summer
  • spherical
  • 0.25- 0.3 inches in diameter

The Habitat:

  • pastures, open disturbed areas, roadsides, vacant lots
  • gardens, reverting fields
  • woodland borders, hedgerows, and woods


  • seeds are dispersed by birds

Key ID Features:

  • alternate
  • 5-11 serrated leaflets
  • dark above, pale below
  • feathery or comb-like stipule at base of leaf stalk
  • fragrant white or pink flowers
  • rose hips red

Similar Species:

  • Scotch rose (Rosa spinosissima) has many narrow, needle-like thorns on its branches
  • Memorial rose (R. wichuraiana) is more of a low-growing rose that can cover the ground
  • Multiflora rose is the only rose that has a feathery or comb-like fringe at the tips of its stipules (green leaf-like structure at the base of each leaf stalk).


  • The Multiflora Rose creates a living fence due to its dense growth, and it prevents native plants from establishing. The plant is spread great distances since birds consume the rose hips and spread the seeds

Growth Form: Shrub

Origin: Japan

Level of Invasiveness for Nantucket: Invasive

Level of Invasiveness for Massachusetts: Invasive

Massachusetts Cultivation Restrictions: importation ban, propagation ban

Credits: The Electronic Field Guide to the Invasive Plants of Nantucket (c) 2005-2006 Maria Mitchell Association, EFG Project, UMass Boston