The Rosaceae or rose family is a large family of flowering plants, with about 2830 species in 95 genera. The name is derived from the type genus Rosa. Among the largest genera are Alchemilla (270), Sorbus (260), Crataegus (260), Cotoneaster(260), and Rubus (250). The largest genus by far is Prunus (plums, cherries, peaches, apricots and almonds) with about 430 species. However, all of these numbers should be seen as underestimates - much taxonomic work is left to be done here.
Roses can be herbs, shrubs or trees. Most species are deciduous, but some are evergreen. They have a worldwide range, but are most diverse in the northern hemisphere.
Several economically important products come from the Rosaceae, these include many edible fruits (such as apples, apricots, plums, cherries, peaches, pears, raspberries, and strawberries), almonds, and ornamental trees and shrubs (such as roses, meadowsweets, photinias, firethorns, rowans, and hawthorns).
The Rosaceae have a cosmopolitan distribution (found nearly everywhere except for Antarctica), but there are many more species endemic to the temperate northern hemisphere than anywhere else.
The family was traditionally divided into four subfamilies: Rosoideae, Spiraeoideae, Maloideae, and Amygdaloideae, primarily diagnosed by the structure of the fruits. More recent work has identified that not all of these groups were monophyletic. A more modern view comprises three subfamilies, one of which (Rosoideae) has largely remained the same. A cladogram of the family is shown below:
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