Domain Eucarya
Kingdom Plantae
Division Magnoliophyta (angiosperms)
Class Magnoliopsida (dicots)
Cronquist Subclass Rosidae or Dahlgren Superorder Rosiflora
Order Rosales
Family Rosaceae

The rose family is one of the most successful plant families, with about 2000 species in about 100 genera. Rosaceae species appear in every environment on Earth, but prefer temperate to tropical climates.

Rosaceae can appear as herbs, shrubs, or trees. They have alternate leaves, often serrate, with stipules at their bases. The flowers usually have a calyx of 5 sepals and a corolla of 5 petals. They are hermaphroditic, with many stamens surrounding a compound pistil. Flowers frequently form in bunches of various forms (umbels, racemes, The compound ovaries swell into large fruits that can be fleshy pomes, as in the Pyroideae or as drupes ('berries'), as in Prunus.

The commercial value of the Rosaceae cannot be underestimated, with several genera (especially Prunus, Malus, and Rubus) being important food sources, others (Rosa) as flowers or as ornamental plantings. Many of the tree species are valuable for their hardwood.

The phylogeny of the rose family is undrgoing revisions as of this writing. What follows is a patchwork, based upon my assimilation of several sources. Species counts are difficult because of the large number of cultivars in the commerically important genera.

Subfamily Amygdaloideae, (aka Prunoideae):

Subfamily Chrysobalanoideae (often elevated to its own family Chrysobalanaceae):

Tribe Dryadeae (subfamily uncertain, see Rosoideae below):

Subfamily Pyroideae (aka Maloideae or Pomoideae):

Subfamily Rosoideae:

Subfamily Quillajoideae:

Subfamily Spiraeoideae:

Other genera:

L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz (1992 onwards). The Families of Flowering Plants: Descriptions, Illustrations, Identification, and Information Retrieval. Version: 14th December 2000.

Evans, R., C. Campbell, D. Potter, D. Morgan, T. Eriksson, L. Alice, S.-H. Oh, E. Bortiri, F. Gao, J. Smedmark, and M. Arsenault - A Rosaceae phylogeny
(Abstract at

Eriksson, T., Hibbs, Malin S, Yoder, Anne D. Delwiche, Charles F. , Donoghue, Michael J.
The Phylogeny of Rosoideae (Rosaceae) Based on sequences of the internal transcribed spacers (ITRS) of nuclear ribsomal DNA and the TRNL/F region of chloroplast DNA
Int. J. Plant Sci. 164(2): 197-211: 2003 avaliable online at, Eriksson et al, IJPS.pdf