The collective effects of alloy disorder and interface roughness on optical properties of InxGa1-xN/GaN multiple quantum wells (MQWs) have been studied. The results are compared with those of GaN/AlGaN MQWs and InGaN epilayers. InxGa1-xN/GaN MQWs emit a broad and asymmetrical photoluminescence (PL) band, while GaN/AlGaN MQWs and InGaN epilayers emit narrower and Gaussian-shaped PL bands. Furthermore, the decay of excitons at low temperatures in InxGa1-xN/GaN MQWs follows a nonexponential function even at the lower-energy side of the PL spectral peak, while those in GaN/AlGaN MQWs and in InGaN epilayers follow a single exponential function. Both alloy disorder and interface roughness have to be included in order to interpret the PL emission spectrum and the decay dynamics in InxGa1-xN/GaN MQWs. Important parameters of the InxGa1-xN/GaN MQWs, σx, σL, and dτ/dL, denoting the alloy disorder, the interface roughness, and the rate of changing of the exciton decay lifetime with well width, respectively, have been deduced. The method developed here can be used to determine σx, σL, and dτ/dL in any MQW systems with wells being alloy materials. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.