Rose Family

California Rose © KKorbholz

Rosaceae (ro-ZAY-see-ee)

Iconic Features

    • Leaves generally serrate and alternate
    • Sepals and petals freely attached to a hypanthium
    • Usually 5 separate petals and sepals
    • Flower with numerous stamens and pistils

    Description (Jepson)

      • Herbaceous annuals and perennials, shrubs and small trees
      • Eudicotyledons (eudicots) – a major lineage of flowering plants including most plants traditionally described as dicots and generally characterized by
        • 2 seed leaves (dicotyledon)
        • Netted (reticulate) leaf venation
        • Flower parts in fours and fives
        • Pollen grains with 3 pores (tricolpate)
        • Vascular bundles in stem arranged in a ring
        • Taproot system
      • Leaves
        • Simple (not divided into leaflets) or compound (divided into leaflets)
        • Often with serrated edges
        • Generally alternate (1 leaf at each junction with stem)
        • Often with stipules (pair of leaf-like structures at the base of the leaf stalk)
      • Flowers
        • Usually bisexual and radially symmetric, e.g. blackberry flower
        • Usually with 5 sepals (usually green, outer flower parts) and 5 petals, freely attached to a shallow cup (hypanthium)
        • Numerous stamens (male flower parts)
        • Ovary superior (above the attachment of other flower parts) to inferior (below the attachment of other flower parts)
      • Fruit in many kinds, including an achene (a single-seeded, dry fruit that does not split open), an aggregate of achenes, or a drupe (a fleshy fruit with usually 1 seed in a hard inner shell — a stone fruit)


        • Approximately 3,000 species worldwide
          • Includes roses, chamise, holly-leaved cherry, oceanspray, toyon, and many commonly-eaten fruits, such as plums, apples, and raspberries
        • Scientific name from the included genus Rosa, from the Latin for the plant
        • Represented by 21 species at Edgewood

        See General References

        Browse Some Edgewood Plants in this Family