A rose, or the bloom it bears, is a woody perennial flowering plant of the genus Rosa, in the Rosaceae family. There are approximately 300 species and tens of thousands of cultivars to choose from. They are a collection of plants that might be upright shrubs, climbing plants, or trailing plants with stinging prickles on their stems. Flowers come in a variety of sizes and shapes, but most are enormous and spectacular, with colors ranging from white to yellows and reds. The majority of species are endemic to Asia, with a few exceptions in Europe, North America, and northwest Africa. Species, cultivars, and hybrids are all popular because they are attractive and frequently aromatic. In many cultures, roses have gained cultural importance. Rose bushes come in a variety of sizes, from little tiny roses to seven-meter-tall climbers. Different species easily hybridize, which has led to the production of a diverse range of garden roses.
On the stem, the leaves are borne alternately. Most species are 5 to 15 centimetres (2.0 to 5.9 in) long, pinnate, with (3–) 5–9 (–13) leaflets and basal stipules; the leaflets have a serrated border, and the underside of the stem often has a few tiny prickles. The majority of roses are deciduous, although a few (especially those from Southeast Asia) are evergreen or almost evergreen.
With the exception of Rosa sericea, which has just four petals, most species have five petals in its blooms. Each petal is split into two lobes and is generally white or pink, however yellow or crimson is seen in a few species. There are five sepals underneath the petals (or in the case of some Rosa sericea, four). When viewed from above, they may be long enough to be visible as green points alternating with the rounded petals. There are several superior ovaries that produce achenes. Roses are naturally pollinated by insects.
The rose’s aggregate fruit is a berry-like structure known as a rose hip. Many domestic varieties do not yield hips because the flowers are so densely petalled that pollination is impossible. Most species have red hips, although a few have dark purple to black hips (e.g. Rosa pimpinellifolia). The hypanthium, the outer fleshy layer of each hip, contains 5–160 “seeds” (technically, dried single-seeded fruits called achenes) encased in a matrix of fine yet stiff hairs. Rose hips from several species, particularly the dog rose (Rosa canina) and rugosa rose (Rosa rugosa), are among the highest sources of vitamin C found in any plant. Fruit-eating birds like thrushes and waxwings consume the hips and then distribute the seeds in their droppings. The seeds are also eaten by several birds, notably finches.
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