These are annual and perennial herbs, shrubs, and trees (often with spiny branches). Leaves ae usually alternate sometimes with basal resettes, or distichous. Blades are simple to compound (pinnate or palmate) and toothed along the margin with pinnate or palmate venation. Stipules are usually present and often fused to the petiole. Flower clusters (inflorescences) are usually terminal compound racemes but can be cymes, corymbs, false umbelsl or solitary flowers. The bisexual flowers are radially symmetric (acinomorphic) with a receptable forming a flat, concave or tubular hypanthium with sepals, petals and stamens on the outer or upper margins. The sepals (5) are free or fused to the ovary. Petals are equal in number to the sepals but in some genera they are absent altogether. Stamens are usually numerous. The ovary is inferior, superior or semi-inferior, adnate to the calyx tube and composed of one to many (5) fused or free carpels forming one to several lobules. Fruits are variable achene, drupe, pomes, hips, follicles or capsules. Sometimes the dry fruit bears a feathery, persistent style or wind disposal.
This family is found all over the world except for permanetly frozen areas and extreme dry areas such as arid regions of Africa and Australia. They are most diverse in temperate zones. The family contains 54 – 75 genera, including Alchemilla, Potentilla, Rosa, Rubus, Amelanchier, Aronia, Cotoneaster, Crataegus, Cydonia, Malus, Photina, Physiocarpus, Prunus, Pyracantha, Pyrus, Sorbus, Spiraea, etc. The economic importance of the family lies mainly in the fruits of its species; apples, peaches, pears and cherries; almonds, peaches, apricots, sweet cherry (P. avium), sour cherry (P.cerasus); many apples types (Malus pumila), pear (Pyrus communis, distinguished from apples from the gritty sclereids in its flesh); Sorbus species are used for their wood. Potentilla x ananassa (formerly Fragaria) makes up the major strawberry market). Rubus, Crataegus, and Rosa species also contribute to food.
Rosa is the Latin word for “rose”, derived from the Greek rhodon, a “rose”