A rose is a woody perennial of the genus Rosa, within the family Rosaceae. There are over 100 species. They form a group of plants that can be erect shrubs, climbing or trailing with stems that are often armed with sharp prickles. Flowers vary in size and shape and are usually large and showy, in colours ranging from white through yellows and reds. Most species are native to Asia, with smaller numbers native to Europe, North America, and northwest Africa. Species, cultivars and hybrids are all widely grown for their beauty and often are fragrant. Rose plants range in size from compact, miniature roses, to climbers that can reach 7 meters in height. Different species hybridize easily, and this has been used in the development of the wide range of garden roses. The name rose comes from French, itself from Latin rosa, which was perhaps borrowed from Oscan, from Greek ρόδον rhódon (Aeolic βρόδον wródon), itself borrowed from Old Persian wrd- (wurdi), related to Avestan varəδa, Sogdian ward, Parthian wâr.
Further information: List of Rosa species
The genus Rosa is subdivided into four subgenera:
Hulthemia (formerly Simplicifoliae, meaning "with single leaves") containing one or two species from southwest Asia, R. persica and Rosa berberifolia which are the only roses without compound leaves or stipules. Hesperrhodos (from the Greek for "western rose") contains Rosa minutifolia and Rosa stellata, from North America. Platyrhodon (from the Greek for "flaky rose", referring to flaky bark) with one species from east Asia, Rosa roxburghii. Rosa (the type subgenus) containing all the other roses. This subgenus is subdivided into 11 sections. Banksianae - white and yellow flowered roses from China.
Bracteatae - three species, two from China and one from India. Caninae - pink and white flowered species from Asia, Europe and North Africa. Carolinae - white, pink, and bright pink flowered species all from North America. Chinensis - white, pink, yellow, red and mixed-color roses from China and Burma. Gallicanae - pink to crimson and striped flowered roses from western Asia and Europe. Gymnocarpae - one species in western North America (Rosa gymnocarpa), others in east Asia. Laevigatae - a single white flowered species from China
Pimpinellifoliae - white, pink, bright yellow, mauve and striped roses from Asia and Europe. Rosa (syn. sect. Cinnamomeae) - white, pink, lilac, mulberry and red roses from everywhere but North Africa. Synstylae - white, pink, and crimson flowered roses from all areas. Rose-picking in the Rose Valley near the town of Kazanlak, 1870s, engraving by F. Kanitz
Roses are best known as ornamental plants grown for their flowers in the garden and sometimes indoors. They have been also used for commercial perfumery and commercial cut flower crops. Some are used as landscape plants, for hedging and for other utilitarian purposes such as game cover and slope stabilization. They also have minor medicinal uses. Ornamental plants
The majority of ornamental roses are hybrids that were bred for their flowers. A few, mostly species roses are grown for attractive or scented foliage (such as Rosa glauca and Rosa rubiginosa), ornamental thorns (such as Rosa sericea) or for their showy fruit (such as Rosa moyesii). Hybrid Tea cultivar 'Mrs. Herbert Stevens'
Ornamental roses have been cultivated for millennia, with the earliest known cultivation known to date from at least 500 BC in Mediterranean countries, Persia, and China. Many thousands of rose hybrids and cultivars have been bred and selected for garden use as flowering plants. Most are double-flowered with many or all of the stamens having mutated into additional petals. In the early 19th century the Empress Josephine of France patronized the development of rose breeding at her gardens at Malmaison. As long ago as 1840 a collection numbering over one thousand different cultivars, varieties and species was possible...