Quantifying the levels of sexual reproduction and clonal spread in the invasive plant, Rosa multiflora

Laura C. Jesse, John D. Nason, John J. Obrycki, Kirk A. Moloney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Rosa multiflora Thunb., (Rosaceae), an invasive plant in the eastern U.S., was introduced into the U.S. in the early 1800s and was widely planted in the 1940s as a living fence, for wildlife cover, and to prevent soil erosion. This species spread rapidly from these original plantings via seed dispersal (sexual reproduction) and clonal spread, invading pasture and wooded areas. In this study we used allozyme markers to test for significant differences in the levels of asexual and sexual spread in large (>9 m cirumference) verses small (<2 m circumference) patches of R. multiflora and in pasture verses park settings. Although larger patches of R. multiflora tended to be dominated by one genotype, they exhibited significantly greater genetic diversity and inputs from sexual reproduction than did small patches; all large patches (N = 10) contained multiple unique genotypes. In contrast six of ten smaller patches of R. multiflora, consisted of a single genotype, though three patches had two genotypes and one had three unique genotypes. Similar analyses revealed clonal structure in R. multiflora populations both park and pasture habitats but with significantly greater genetic diversity and sexual inputs in the former than the latter. These results are consistent with a model of invasive spread involving clonal spread, sexual reproduction, and bird-mediated seed dispersal into established patches. Sexual inputs appear to be highest in larger patches and park habitats where perching sites for birds are most abundant. This flexible reproduction system likely contributes to the invasiveness of R. multiflora and to current management failures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1847-1854
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Invasions
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2010


  • Allozyme
  • Clonal reproduction
  • Multiflora rose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Quantifying the levels of sexual reproduction and clonal spread in the invasive plant, Rosa multiflora'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this