Late May, and the clusters of white blossoms are everywhere. Brambles covered with cascades of white. Blackberry or Multiflora Rose. For me, a friend and a foe. The two plants are nearly twins to the untrained eye. I think I’ve got it figured out though. In the picture, above, Blackberry, Rubus fruticosus. Notice the center of the bloom — a soft, pale green.
The spill of blossoms of the Blackberry, are a bit more thin and scattered than the Multiflora Rose.
Native Blackberry provides much benefit to wildlife here on the mountain. Not only does my family enjoy picking the berries, but many insects, birds and mammals benefit from its presence.
The Multiflora Rose, Rosa multiflora, above, has the same size flower as the Blackberry. The center of the bloom though, is quite a different color — soft yellow with school bus yellow stamens.
Stepping back, looking at the Multiflora Rose as a bush, the blooms are more tightly packed in their clusters than the Blackberry.
The Multiflora Rose is native to eastern Asia, in China, Japan and Korea. It is considered an alien invasive in eastern North America. Multiflora Rose should not be confused with polyantha roses which are garden cultivars derived from hybrids of R. multiflora.
Here on my mountain, and further up, in Shenandoah National Park, Multiflora Rose presents a challenge. It takes over large swaths of ground preventing native plants from establishing themselves and providing benefit to insects, birds and mammals.
Friend or foe? Blackberry is my friend, Multiflora Rose is definitely not.