[caption id="attachment_20599" align="alignleft" width="400"]<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2018\/05\/image1.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="501" class="size-full wp-image-20599" \/> Multiflora Rose, known for its wicked curved thorns and spreading habit, is the bane of farmers throughout the county and the country. Its deceptively innocent and beautiful blossoms decorate our landscape in late May and June. WVU Extension and flickriver.com photos[\/caption]\r\n\r\nLaura Dean Bennett\r\nStaff Writer\r\n\r\nRoses are one of the most popular and beloved flowers in the world. Their history as a cultivated plant goes back at least 5,000 years.\r\n\r\nWe really love our rose bushes \u2013 but there is this one.\r\n\r\nThe multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora), also known as Japanese Rose, was thought to be, like many rose bushes, an attractive, useful plant.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s called multiflora because it produces many flowers in a cluster.\r\n\r\nNative roses usually bear individual, unclustered flowers.\r\n\r\nThe multiflora rose blooms are pleasant and it provides food and habitat for birds and wildlife, and roses have furnished food and medicine for humans for centuries.\r\n\r\nBut the multiflora rose is one rose bush that most of us wish we\u2019d never met.\r\n\r\nIt gets carried away \u2013 really, seriously, carried away.\r\n\r\nIt is the most prolific rose now growing in the United States and Canada due to its invasive tendencies.\r\n\r\nIts aggressive habit of taking over has given multiflora rose a bad reputation.\r\n\r\nIt is now listed as a \u201cnoxious weed\u201d in West Virginia and many other states.\r\n\r\nMultiflora rose was introduced to the U.S. from Japan in 1886 as rootstock for less-hardy ornamental roses.\r\n\r\nIt soon escaped cultivation, and started growing up and down the east coast and points west.\r\n\r\nIn the 1930s, its takeover was accelerated when the Soil Conservation Service began advising farmers to plant it to halt erosion.\r\n\r\nThey also promoted it to farmers for use as a \u201cliving fence\u201d to contain livestock.\r\n\r\nGame agencies praised it as a source of cover for rabbits, quail and other birds.\r\n\r\nThe red rose hips, or berries, were touted as excellent winter forage for everything from birds and mice to deer.\r\n\r\nHedges of multiflora rose were eventually used on highway medians as a crash barrier and to reduce headlight glare.\r\n\r\nAnd then came the realization.\r\n\r\nAll of those uses for multiflora rose were quite true, but there was no stopping the plant.\r\n\r\nSoon the hedgerows took over entire fields and farms and highway medians were overrun.\r\n\r\nOne might say that the bloom was off the rose.\r\n\r\nDespite its pretty display of creamy white blossoms, multiflora rose was soon \u201cflora non grata\u201d everywhere, and we soon learned that, not only was it extremely hard to eradicate, but also hard to live with.\r\n\r\nMultiflora rose grows in a mass of thorny viney stalks, and its thorns are vicious.\r\n\r\nJust bumping into a cane can be serious.\r\n\r\nThe multiflora rose thorn is curved toward the base of the cane, so a person or animal brushing against the shrub is instantly impaled.\r\n\r\nMoving forward drives the thorn deeper into the skin or lengthens and deepens the injury.\r\n\r\nIf a thorn tip breaks off in the skin, it can cause festering.\r\n\r\nSome people may even experience an allergic reaction to multiflora scratches.\r\n\r\nEven the leaves have nasty sharp mini-thorns \u2013 each carries several tiny hooks.\r\n\r\nAll in all, multiflora rose has developed a serious defense system.\r\n\r\nThis is not a plant with which to be trifled.\r\n\r\nEven one innocent-looking multiflora rose lurking beside your yard fence can spread seeds all over the place and soon, you may find you are overrun.\r\n\r\nIf you wonder if a rose bush you come across is multiflora, or a \u201cgood\u201d rose bush, the color of its blossoms can often tell you.\r\n\r\nNative rose bushes usually have pinkish flowers, while multiflora rose usually features white flowers. There are multifloras with pink blossoms, but they are the exception.\r\n\r\nWhen you\u2019ve decided to eradicate one, you\u2019ll find it a difficult job.\r\n\r\nCutting the plant down to the ground may kill other roses, but not the multiflora rose.\r\n\r\nEach spring you\u2019ll probably find new canes sprouting from the rootstock.\r\n\r\nCareful application of herbicide at the base of the plant is the most effective means of eradication.\r\n\r\nAnd it may be necessary to repeat the process for several years in a row to completely rid a yard of these roses.\r\n\r\nIf you don\u2019t like to use poison in your yard, prune down the sprouts year after year \u2013 before they flower \u2013 until the plant finally dies.\r\n\r\nBut some of us have worse infestations to worry about.\r\n\r\nFarmers have learned that an infestation of multiflora rose can grow so thick that it can obliterate an entire field.\r\nIt can render a field unusable for sowing crops or grazing. Its savage thorns can seriously injure people, cattle, horses and wildlife.\r\n\r\nIf you have a field in danger of being overrun by multiflora rose, you will have to take serious measures to eradicate it.\r\n\r\nMowing can help keep larger infestations under control, but it will not completely solve the problem.\r\n\r\nA regular maintenance program of mowing and herbicide application is necessary to keep the plant at bay.\r\n\r\nOr you may want to consider getting a flock of sheep or a herd of goats, who are able to eat all manner of brush and even, multiflora rose.\r\n\r\nIt is said that eight to 10 mature goats and\/or sheep per acre for four seasons or more should be adequate to control pastures infested with multiflora rose.\r\n\r\nIf we have to deal with multiflora rose as an invasive species, then, perhaps, we could learn to eat it ourselves.\r\n\r\nTo those brave enough to try it, multiflora roses do offer some nutrition and interest to our diets.\r\n\r\nThe high vitamin C content in its leaves and rose hips might be enough to tempt some of us.\r\n\r\nAnd roses have other nutritional benefits of which most people are unaware.\r\n\r\nBesides being rich in vitamin C, rose hips are also rich in carotene and essential fatty acids.\r\n\r\nThey are also a good source of vitamin E and may be ground up and added to foods as a nutritional supplement.\r\n\r\nRoses are being studied for their value as an antioxidant and may possibly assist in the fight against cancer.\r\n\r\nRose hip tea can be brewed from the rose hips \u2013 or berries \u2013 gathered in the fall from any rose bush.\r\n\r\nThey can also be eaten raw \u2013 for instance, sprinkled on a winter salad.\r\n\r\nBut watch out for the stiff, irritating hairs which protect the seeds.\r\n\r\nThey are not a problem if you are brewing rose hip tea, but if you want to use rose hips raw, you might want to rub or snip the hairs away, so as not to experience any irritation.\r\n\r\nRose hips have a unique flavor, and they are used to make a hot or cold tea.\r\n\r\nTo make the tea, mash the rose hips and steep them in very hot water, then strain \u2013 just as you would any herb for tea.\r\nThe best time to harvest rose hips is after the first frost, when they become soft and sweet.\r\n\r\nDepending on the weather, multiflora rose hips may last until late winter. But gather them before the birds have gotten them or they rot.\r\n\r\nThey may be stored in a cool, dry place, dried or frozen for later use.\r\n\r\nSome people grind them up and add them to foods for their nutritional content.\r\n\r\nIt is said that the Native Americans used them in making their pemmican.\r\n\r\nRose leaves and flower petals are also edible. Springtime is a good time to harvest the young, tender shoots.\r\n\r\nThey can both be eaten raw \u2013 but remember, the leaves should be harvested when very young, before they develop thorns on the underside.\r\n\r\nMaybe we can at least get some bit of good from multiflora rose.\r\n\r\nIf you can\u2019t beat \u2018em, you and your sheep and goats can at least eat \u2018em!