Aristotle University of Thessaloniki April 2000
School of Biology Kerstin Nordstrom
The rose - family
The Rose family - rosaceae – comprises about 3000 species of plants mainly spread in temperate countries. Some of them are very important as edible fruit trees (Almonds, cherries, apples, etc.) or as cultivated flowers (roses, for example)
Habit: Rosacidae consists of trees, or shrubs, or herbs, non-laticiferous and without coloured juice. The herbs are usually perennial, with a basal aggregation of leaves, or with neither basal nor terminal aggregations of leaves. They can be self-supporting, or climbing. They are helophytic, mesophytic, or xerophytic.
Leaves :(1) They are usually deciduous or evergreen. Generally alternate, composite or simple. Leaves are stipulate (usually), or exstipulate (in Spiraea etc.)
Inflorescence: Flowers can be solitary, or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in cymes, in panicles, in racemes, in corymbs, in umbels, and in fascicles.
Stems: (2) The stems are very changing, erect or climbing. Ligneous or herbaceous.
Flowers: (3) Flowers are small to large, often fragrant, usually regular, cyclic, or partially acyclic. Calyx - 5 free sepals, corolla - 5 free petals, stamens many, ovary - inferior or semi inferior, carpel’s - many.
Fruit: The fruit can be fleshy, or non-fleshy, an aggregate (when carpels free), or not an aggregate.
Drupes (4) Pomes (5) Achenes (6)
Rosacidae is cosmopolitan. You can find it in the Frigid Zone to tropical Zone.
Representative genera and species
AGRIMONIA, ALCHEMILLA, AMELANCHIER, APHANES, ARUNCUS, COTONEASTER, CRAETAGUS, CYDONIA, DRYAS, ERIOBOTRYA, MALUS, MESPILUS
POTENTILLA, PRUNUS PYRACANTHA PYRUS
RUBUS SANGUISORBA SIBBALDIA SORBUS SPIRAEA
Uses (economically important species)
Edible fruits from Malus spp. (apples), Prunus spp. (apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach, plums, prune, sloe), Cydonia (quince), Pyrus (pear), Eriobotrya (loquat), Rubus (blackberry, boysenberry, loganberry, rasberry), Fragaria (strawberry), Mespilus (medlar); nuts (Prunus — almond); many ornamental trees and shrubs or hedge-plants, e.g. Spiraea, Photinia, Kerria, Cotoneaster, Pyracantha, Crataegus, Sorbus, Rhodotypos, Prunus, Rosa, Potentilla; and some widely naturalized pests (e.g. from Acaena, Crataegus, Cotoneaster, Pyracantha). (http://biodiversity.uno.edu/delta/angio/www/rosaceae.htm)
Apple is a quite big tree with big spread branches. The leaves are about 5 – 6 cm long whit short petioles. They are whitish at the underneath. The petals are white, pink or reddish and the stamens have a yellow colour. The fruit, the apple can be very varying in its shape and colour but it is usually red at the sunlit side.
Perennial tree of the Rose family – Rosaceae up to 10 m tall. Erect stems of dark cracked bark. Leaves sharp, ovate-lanceolate, toothed at the edge till 12 cm long. Flowers grouped in pairs, pink-white, completely pink or, most infrequently white. Fruit in drupe, whit the mesocarp initially soft, but becoming stiff as it becomes ripe. It comes from Asia originally but is usually cultivated in warm Mediterranean places.
Fragaria Vesca L. (Strawberry)
Perennial plant of the rose family which sprouts every year. Leaves and flowers spring from almost the ground, both with a similar length. Flowering stems with no leaves holding flowers with five petals, five sepals and numerous stamens. It produces long rooting stolons where new plants may grow. The fruit, which is commonly, know as the strawberry, it is a red small berry (see image of the fruits)
In the family Rosaceae there is a species (Rosa canina), which can be useful for your health.
Rosa canina - (Dogrose)
Perennial bush of the Rose family - Rosaceae - up to 2 m tall. Vine shoot like stems, green, pendulous, with strong hooked prickles. Composite leaves, 3- 4 pairs of toothed, oval leaflets. Solitary flowers or in 1-4 corymbs. White or pink, till 4 cm wide with numerous stamens and sepals, which fall before the fruit, is ripe. Fruit 2 cm wide, dark red (Hips). You can find Rosa canina in woods, hedges and by the side of the roads.
Digestive: Dry petals, soaked for 5 minutes in hot water. Take after meals.
Anti- inflammatory: - rose ointment-: According to ancient Greek, the petals had to be soaked with olive oil and wine in the sun.
Eyewash: Pour boiling water over 10 gr. of dry flowers. Put a soaked compress on the eyes.
Vitaminic: Having removed the seeds, which we must be careful of since they are poisonous for our spine, smash the fruit pulp and mix it up in equal parts with sugar to eat it as a marmalade. They are very rich in vitamin C.
Picking and storing: Roots must be picked at the beginning of spring, leaves in late spring and petals before the flower bloom - They must be air dried on a piece of cloth and kept in airtight containers in a dry spot. The hips should be collected in autumn.
The rose is a rose,
And was always a rose.
But the theory now goes
That the apple’s a rose,
And the pear is, and so’s
The plum, I suppose
… What will next prove a rose
(Robert Frost, ‘The Rose Family’) Kerstin Nordstrom
(http://biodiversity.uno.edu/delta/angio/www/rosaceae.htm) School of Biology
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki