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Family: Rosaceae (Rose, Peach, Apple, Pear, Loquat, Strawberry family)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Order: Rosales

There are about 90 genera and 2520 species worldwide, mostly found in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. There are eight genera and 165 species native to southern Africa, an additional nine genera and 23 species naturalised, and an additional 28 genera and 183 species that are cultivated in the region.

Genera native to southern Africa

List from Jordaan (2000).

Acaena

About 100 species worldwide, found mainly in the cold regions of the southern Hemisphere. Acaena latebrosa is the only species native to southern Africa, found in the Western Cape. Two additional species, Acaena novae-zelandiae (Bidi-bidi) from New Zealand and Acaena ovina (Australian sheep's burr) from eastern Australia, are cultivated in southern Africa.

 

Agrimonia

About 15 species worldwide, of which two are native to southern Africa. A further two species are cultivated in southern Africa.

 

Alchemilla

About 250 species worldwide, of which 16 are native to southern Africa, mainly in the eastern summer-rainfall regions. A further two species from Europe, are cultivated in southern Africa.

 

Cliffortia

A total of 135 species, all native to southern Africa, with two extending into tropical Africa.

Geum

About 40 species worldwide, mainly in temperate and cold areas of the northern hemisphere. The only species native to southern Africa is Geum capense. A further three species from north temperate regions are cultivated in southern Africa.

 

Leucosidea

The only species is Oldwood Leucosidea sericea, found in the eastern half of South Africa, mainly along stream banks at high altitudes. See Flora of Zimbabwe.

 

Prunus (almond, apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach and plum genus)

About 200 species, found mainly in the northern hemisphere. Prunus africana is the only species native to southern Africa and an additional two species are naturalised and 23 species and at least three hybrids are cultivated in the region including important commercial crops such as almonds, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches and plums. 

Prunus

Rubus (blackberry, loganberry and rasberry genus)

About 250 species, found worldwide but mainly in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. Species discrimination can be difficult in Rubus because of the extensive natural and artificial hybridization that has occurred. There are about eight species native to southern Africa, and nine species and one hybrid that are naturalised to the region. Since earliest times, people have collected berries from species of Rubus. They are eaten raw, cooked, or made into other products such as jam and juice. Berries have high levels of vitamins A, B1 and C. Dry leaves are used in herbal teas and both leaves and roots are used medicinally.

 

Genera naturalised in southern Africa

List from Jordaan (2000).

Cotoneaster

About 70 species worldwide, found mainly in the north temperate regions of Europe and Asia, especially China. Cotoneaster franchetii and C. pannosus have become naturalised in Gauteng, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape and are declared Category 3 invader plants in South Africa. An additional 38 species and one hybrid are cultivated as garden ornamental plants in southern Africa.

 

Crataegus (Hawthorn genus)

About 1080 species, found in the northern hemisphere. Crataegus x lavallei and C. monogyna have become naturalised in the Free State and Eastern Cape. A further six species and one hybrid are cultivated as garden ornamental plants in southern Africa.

 

Cydonia (Quince)

The only species is the Quince Cydonia oblonga which is native to Causasia and northern Iran. It has become naturalised in the Free State.

Duchesnea (Indian Strawberry genus)

The six species are native to the Indo-Malayan region, China and Japan. The Indian Strawberry Duchesnea indica has become naturalised in southern Africa. 

Duchesnea indica (Indian Strawberry)

Fragaria (Strawberries)

About 12 species worldwide. The Wild Strawberry Fragaria vesca is sometimes found naturalised in southern Africa. Strawberries Fragaria ananassa are cultivated widely.

Pyracantha (Firethorn genus)

About nine species, native to SE Europe, Caucasus, NW Iran and China. Grown in gardens for their attractive, non-edible berries. Three species have become naturalised in southern Africa and a further four species are cultivated in the region.

Pyracantha angustifolia

Pyrus (Pear genus)

About 30 species, native to Europe, North Africa and Asia. Pyrus communis (Pear, Common pear) is cultivated for its fruit, especially in the Western Cape where it has also become naturalised. An additional five species and one hybrid are cultivated in southern Africa.

Rosa (roses)

There are about 100 to 150 species of rose and a huge number of hybrids and cultivars. Native mainly to Asia but also Europe, North America and North Africa. One species and one hybrid have become naturalised in southern Africa and an additional 23 species and at least four hybrids are cultivated in the region.

Sanguisorba 

About 10 species worldwide, found mainly in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. Sanguisorba minor (Salad burnet), which is native to Eurasia and north Africa, is cultivated in southern Africa and has also become naturalised in this region.

 

Other genera, cultivated in southern Africa

List from Glen (2002). The species name is provided in genera that have only one species represented in southern Africa. Quillaja saponaria is now placed in the Quillajaceae.

Amelanchier (Shadbush genus)

About 20 species, native to north temperate regions; four species are cultivated in southern Africa.

 

Aronia arbutifolia (Red chokeberry)

Native to the USA. This species, and the Black chokeberry Aronia melanocarpa, have small violet-black fruit that are harvested to produce Aronia berry juice. These fruit are also used for making jellies and jams. In southern Africa, the Red chokeberry is grown mainly as a garden plant. See Wikipedia page on this genus and species.

 

Aruncus dioicus (Goat's beard)

Native to north temperate regions. See Wikipedia page on this species.

 

Chaenomeles

Three species, native to east Asia, all cultivated as garden plants in southern Africa.

 

Cowania stansburiana

Native to western USA and Mexico.

 

+ Crataegomespilus dardarii (Bronvaux medlar)

An intergeneric hybrid, derived from Mespilus and Crataegus.

 

Eriobotrya japonica (Loquat)

Eriobotrya japonica (Loquat)

Exochorda

Four species, native to China and central Asia; three species are cultivated in southern Africa.

 

Fallugia paradoxa

Native to southern USA and Mexico. See Wikipedia page on this species.

 

Filipendula vulgaris (Dropwort)

Indigenous from Europe through to Siberia. See Wikipedia page on this species.

 

Hagenia abyssinica (African redwood, Brayera, Cusso, Hagenia, Kousso)

Native to tropical East Africa. See Wikipedia page on this species.

 

Horkelia frondosa

Native to California. See Wikipedia page on the genus.

 

Ivesia gordonii (Gordon's mousetail)

Native to western USA. See Wikipedia page on this species.

 

Kerria japonica

Native to China, Japan and Korea. See Wikipedia page on this species.

 

Malus (apples)

About 30-35 species, native to north temperate regions; nine species and two hybrids cultivated in southern Africa. The apple we eat is Malus domestica, which is derived mainly from the wild species Malus sieversii.

Mespilus germanica (Medlar)

Indigenous from southeast Europe through to Iran. See Wikipedia page on this species.

 

Neillia affinis

Native to western China.

 

Petrophytum caespitosum

Native to western USA.

 

Photinia

About 40-60 species, native mainly to Asia but there is also a species in North America. Five species and one hybrid are cultivated in southern Africa.

 

Physocarpus opulifolius (Ninebark)

Native to the USA. See Wikipedia page on this species.

 

Potentilla

About 500 species worldwide, mainly temperate to Arctic regions of the northern hemisphere. Eleven species have been cultivated in southern Africa, mainly from the north temperate regions.

 

Pseudocydonia sinensis (Chinese quince)

Native to China. See Wikipedia page on this species.

 

Rhaphiolepis

Two species and one hybrid cultivated.

 

Rhodotypos scandens

Native to China, Korea and Japan. See Wikipedia page on this species.

 

Sarcopoterium spinosum

Native to the eastern Mediterranean.

 

Sorbaria

Nine species, native to eastern Asia; four species are cultivated in southern Africa.

 

Sorbus

About 100 to 200 species, native to the Northern Hemisphere. Six species are cultivated in southern Africa.

 

Spiraea

About 80 to 100 species, native to the Northern Hemisphere and especially diverse in eastern Asia. Ten species and one hybrid are cultivated in southern Africa.  

Spiraea

Publications

  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.

  • Jordaan, M. 2000. Rosaceae. In: Seed Plants of Southern Africa: Families and Genera (Ed. O.A. Leistner). Strelitzia 10. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria, pp. 470-476.

Text by Hamish Robertson 


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