It looks like I altered the photo doesn’t it? But I didn’t.
The colors and the bunched up leaves were as I found them.
Once home I began searching through my books and internet and found an article by James W. Amrine, Jr. associate professor of entomology and Dale F. Hindal, professor of plant pathology, in the Division of Plant and Soil Sciences, College of Agriculture and Forestry, West Virginia University. It turns out that even the fast spreading, can’t kill it, can’t pull it up, invasive Multiflora Rose is vulnerable after all. A teeny tiny mite is responsible for bringing down this Goliath.
CHORUS: How small it is?
The mite is so small it only has room for two pairs of legs on it’s tiny body instead of the usual four pairs.
CHORUS: (Repeat phrase)
It is so small that 20 mites can fit on a regular pin head.
But the mite just spreads the weapon, a virus called Rose Rosette Disease (RRD) also known as witches’ broom of rose, a condition fatal to the multiflora. The eriophyid mite, Phyllocoptes fructiphilus feeds on the rose thereby inoculating the plant with the RRD disease. Next a bright red to dark red pattern develops on the leaves. Thirty to 90 days later the infected rose produces lateral shoots that are bright red as seen in my photo. A large number of the shoots form the symptom known as witches brooming. These leaf clusters can act as a winter protection for the mites. The RRD spreads from the canes into the roots and then to the entire plant. The plant dies after one or two years. That’s the good news. The bad news it that it can sometimes attack cultivated roses in your yard.
So you see even a tough plant like the Multiflora Rose can be vulnerable.
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