Apples are in the rose family!
This is a Rose? Yep, and you can eat it, too!
Do you or a friend of yours have one of those enormous extended families, where 40+ aunts, uncles and cousins join together for a big bash every summer?
Try being a Rose!
Many of your fresh and delicious plant friends can be found in the wide world that is the Rose family, known in botanical Latin as Rosaceae [Row-zay-see-ee]. This group can be identified by several key ID features, all common to the Rose family and a dead giveaway you can use on walks and while scouting early in the season for the best future fruit patches.
Five petals – The pretty pink flower here belongs to a wild Rose, in the Rosa genus. What’s a genus? That’s one of the pair of words used for Every plant’s personal Latin name. Wish I had a Latin name! Genus species is how we write botanical Latin names. In the case of the Rugosa Rose, this would be Rosa rugosa. Did you know that Rose hips, the fruit of the Rose, are known to have a Vitamin C content 5+ times higher than that of citrus fruits? Rugosa Rose, while not being a native version to North America, is an excellent hybrid plant that produces large (1”, 2-3 cm) hips, which are the edible fruit of the Rose. It is not known to be invasive, and fruits regularly in my parents’ yard back in MN.
Many Stamens and Styles – We know by now flowers have got style, it’s part of their charm. But, flowers also have literal Styles which are part of the female half of Rose flowers. The Stamens hold the pollen anthers of a flower, which are the male part of the Rose flower. Rose family members have many Stamens and Styles, which you can compare to a Geranium flower below. Clearly, the Rose family has wayyy more Style ?.
Serrated Leaves – Just like your serrated kitchen knife, the leaf edges of plants in the Rose family have small teeth. Other plants, such as the Lilac, may have entire or smooth leaf edges (also called leaf margins). Below are Raspberry leaves (Rose family) compared to a Lilac’s leaves (Olive family).
Ever hear about all the tasty fruits the Rose family graciously offers us?
Apples, Plums, Peaches, Almonds, raspberries, strawberries, and the lesser known Serviceberry are all members of Rosaceae. Pay homage, eat up!