Rosaceae family has about 100 genera and 2000 species. It is distributed all over the world. About 29 genera and 213 species of this family are reported in Pakistan.
There are following familiar plants of this family:
- Pyrus: pear
- Rosa: rose
- Malus: apple
- Fragaria: strawberry
- Plants are tree shrubs and herbs.
- The stems of shrubby plants have spines.
- The leaves are alternate, rarely opposite. They may be simple or compound. They have paired stipules. These stipules may be adnate to the petiole. Spines may be preset on the rachis.
- Inflorescence: Inflorescence is variable. It may be racemose or cymose clusters. Some flowers are solitary.
- Flower: The flowers are mostly bisexual and actinomorphic. Mostly they are perigynous. The flowers are showy and scented.
- Calyx: Sepals are 5, rarely 4. They are united at the base.
- Corolla: Petals are 5 or multiple of 5. These petals are free, large, showy and rosaceous.
- Androecium: They have numerous stamens. Some flowers have only 5to 10 stamens.
- Gynoecium: Carpels may be I to numerous. Carpels may be separate or united. Ovary generally superior, sometimes, it is inferior. There are two type of placentation in rose family:
- Basal: When carpel is one or apocarpous (separate), the placentation is basal.
- Axile: When there are many and syncarpous (fused) carples, the placentation is axile.
Economic Importance of Rosaceae
It has a great economic importance for mankind.
- Fruits: This family has great importance in temperate (cold) region.
Many fruits are obtained from the plants of this family. They are also used as ornamental plants. They are ranked third in the flowering families for commercial importance in the temperate zone. Some important fruits are Apple, Pear, Almond, Peach, Apricot, and Strawberry etc.
- Ornamental Plants: A large number of plants of this family are ornamental. They are grown in gardens for their beautiful and scented flowers.
The genus Rosa is widely cultivated for decorative purpose. It has been growing since ancient times. Its cultivated names are in thousands. Many other genera are also grown in gardens and parks for beautiful flowers.
- Wood: The branches of Crataegus are used as walking sticks and wood. The wood of Pyrus pastia is used for making tobacco gardens.
- Commercial and medicinal uses of Petals: The petals of some common roses are called gulabs in many Asian countries like Pakistan. These petals are used for making gulkand and for extraction of rose oil. This oil is used in perfumes. These petals also give Ark-Gulab on distillation with water. This Ark-Gulab is used for curing eye disease and for many other purposes.