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It's been a really long time since I've done a wildlife shiny post. A really, really long time. Prompted by my discovery below, I think it's time to bring it back :)

While looking for articles about invasive rose species, I came across an article from 1950 in the Journal of Wildlife Management (http://www.jstor.org/pss/3796151). And I quote:

"The use of multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) as a living fence and as wildlife cover is being widely recommended for farms in the Midwest and Northeast. Trials of the plant in these areas indicate only limited tendencies to spread, and there appears to be little danger of the species becoming a nuisance."

Oh my, how sadly mistaken we were.


Photo by Ulf Eliasson, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Multiflora rose is not native to North America. It was introduced from east Asia for the reasons listed above - to provide berries and cover for wildlife, and to create "living fences" - as well as for ornamental purposes, as crash barriers along highways, and for erosion control. It has become horrendously invasive*, primarily in the eastern U.S.

We battle this stuff all the time at Woodlawn - it's really hard to get rid of. It also has these nasty whitish re-curved thorns that scratch you and easily get tangled in your hair and clothes.

Another interesting note is that while birds do indeed love the berries produced by multiflora rose, they don't get nearly as much nutritional value from them as they do from the berries of native plants.

So if you have this awful plant growing in your yard (or any other invasive plant for that matter), get rid of it right away before it gets any worse! If you need help with identification and control, there's a number of resources online (e.g., http://www.invasive.org/browse/subject.cfm?sub=3071) as well as organizations like native plant societies that can help you out.

*For those unfamiliar with the term, an invasive species is a species that aggressively dominates an ecosystem, often to the exclusion of native species. They are typically non-native species, although a select few (like phragmites) are considered native. A few invasive species that are more well-known among the general public as being out of control include kudzu, Spanish moss, and the gypsy moth.

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