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A family of dicotyledonous plants in the order Rosales typically having stipulate leaves and hypogynous, slightly perigynous, or epigynous flowers, numerous stamens, and several or many separate carpels.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(roses), a family of dicotyledonous plants including trees, shrubs, and herbs. The leaves are mostly stipular and usually alternate. The regular, predominantly bisexual flowers are solitary or, more commonly, in inflorescences. The perianth is mostly five-parted and often has an epicalyx. There usually are many stamens, and the number of carpels ranges from one to many. There are various kinds of fruits, including multiple fruits, capsules, pomes, and drupes. In some cultivated species the fruits are parthenocarpic and seedless.

There are about 115 genera of Rosaceae, embracing more than 3,000 species. The plants are distributed throughout the world, primarily in temperate and subtropical regions of the northern hemisphere. The USSR has about 55 genera, comprising more than 700 species.

The family Rosaceae is often divided into the following subfamilies: Spiraeoideae, Maloideae (also known as Pyroideae or Pomoideae), Rosoideae, and Prunoideae. The Spiraeoideae have a multiple fruit usually consisting of five free or fused carpels. In the Maloideae the fruit is a pome, and there usually are five carpels. The flowers of the Rosoideae often have an epicalyx, and the fruit—a multiple nutlet, multiple fruit, or cynarrhodium—usually has many carpels. The Prunoideae usually have a single carpel, and the fruit is a drupe. The subfamilies Maloideae and Prunoideae are often classified as the families Malaceae and Amygdalaceae, respectively. In the past two other subfamilies were assigned to the Rosaceae—Chrysobalanoideae and Neuradoideae; these two subfamilies are now known, respectively, as the independent families Chry-sobalanaceae and Neuradaceae.

The family Rosaceae includes fruit plants (apple, pear, quince, sour cherry, sweet cherry, plum, apricot, peach, medlar), berry crops (raspberry, strawberry, hautbois strawberry, blackberry, cloudberry), ornamental plants (rose, hawthorn, spirea), and medicinal plants (cherry laurel, salad burnet, tor-mentil).


Flora SSSR, vols. 9–10. Moscow-Leningrad, 1939–41.
Hutchinson, J. The Genera of Flowering Plants, vol. 1. Oxford, 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.