When a Rose is (Not Exactly) a Rose

Throughout history, a rose has been the quintessential symbols of beauty and romance, and they often represent some of life’s most intimate, cherished moments.

I’ll share some tips to help you identify plants in the rose family, which encompasses more than the beautiful floral bushes we’ve come to know. They include herbs, shrubs and trees that can produce edible fruit.

  • Leaves – Many (but not all) plants in the Rosaceae family have oval-shaped leaves with serrated margins. Also, the leaves often have stipules that uniquely distinguish them from other plant families.
  • Stamens – Multiple hairlike parts in the center of the flower (stamens) are a distinctive characteristic 0f the rose family.
  • Petals – The number of petals is also a dead giveaway, as many plants in the Rosaceae family have flowers with five petals. Strawberries, plums, peaches, apples and blackberries all sport five petals and copious stamens.

Recognizing plant families can be challenging at times, but it’s a great way to create more awareness of the plant life that surrounds us! Sometimes a rose is not exactly a rose!

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Erin Conant
Erin Conant has a passion for all things related to plants. Our former SAWS conservation consultant is now at home with her family passionately establishing their own urban farm and spreading the word of water conservation.
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