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Published In: Genera Plantarum 334. 1789. (4 Aug 1789) (Gen. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 9/22/2017)
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ROSACEAE (Rose Family)

Plants annual or more commonly perennial, herbs, shrubs, or trees, sometimes armed with thorns or prickles. Leaves alternate (opposite in Rhodotypos and sometimes in Geum) or all basal. Stipules present, herbaceous, scalelike, or spinescent. Leaf blades simple or compound, the margins usually toothed or lobed, the teeth often with small glandular points. Inflorescences axillary and/or terminal clusters, racemes, spikes, panicles, or umbels, rarely solitary flowers. Flowers usually perfect (except in the mostly dioecious Aruncus), actinomorphic (slightly zygomorphic in Gillenia), perigynous or epigynous, often with a noticeable hypanthium (floral cup or disc), but sometimes appearing nearly hypogynous. Sepals 4 or 5, free, sometimes appearing fused basally in species with a well-developed hypanthium, often persistent at fruiting. Petals 4 or 5 (to numerous in some horticultural variants), rarely absent, free. Stamens (1–)10 to numerous, often in multiples of 5, usually free, the anthers with 2 locules, dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Pistils 1 to many per flower, each apparently with 1–5 carpels. Ovary superior or inferior, with 1 or less commonly 2 locules, each with 1 to few ovules. Styles 1–5, free or fused toward the base, each with 1 stigma, this minute to disc-shaped and terminal or linear and lateral toward the style tip. Fruits diverse. About 100 genera, about 3,000 species, worldwide.

The Rosaceae are an extremely diverse group morphologically, and the characters that hold members of the family together may not be immediately obvious to botany students. A complex classification exists involving 3 or more subfamilies with up to 13 tribes, but many details of generic relationships remain controversial. The most recognizable traditionally accepted subfamilies are: Spiraeoideae Arn. (including Aruncus, Gillenia, Physocarpus, and Spiraea), with flowers containing 2 or more pistils that ripen into follicles; Amygdaloideae Arn. (in Missouri, including only Prunus), with the flowers having only 1 pistil ripening into a drupe; and Maloideae C. Weber (including Amelanchier, Aronia, Chaenomeles, Crataegus, Malus, Pyracantha, and Pyrus), with inferior ovaries ripening into a specialized fruit type known as a pome, which is a fleshy fruit with a core containing seeds surrounded by the hardened or papery, modified inner ovary walls. Most recently, the Amygdaloideae and Maloideae have been suggested to represent merely specialized tribes within the subfamily Spiraeoideae (Potter et al., 2007). The other subfamily, Rosoideae, with indehiscent fruits of various kinds, consists of genera with a diversity of habits, flower types, and other features.

Various members of the family have great economic value as fruit plants, ornamentals, ingredients in cosmetics and soaps, and minor timber trees. A number of species are used medicinally and as sources of vitamins.

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