Rose Anatomy

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Posted on 11/09/2021

Understanding the Anatomy of Roses


Knowing the parts of a rose can help you succeed with growing and caring for your favorite garden roses. Many of these terms apply to perennial and annual flowers, too.


Rose Anatomy 101

From buds to roots, we detail rose and flower anatomy.

Anther

Upper portion of the stamen that contains to grains of pollen.

Auricle

An ear-like projection from the tip of the stipule.

Axil

The upper angle where the leaf and stem join.

Basal break

A new cane (stem) that originates from or near the bud union.

Bract

A leaf (different than an ordinary leaf) that has a smaller, different shape and which grows from the peduncle just below the flower.

Bud

A shoot or young rose whose petals have not yet opened fully.

Bud Union

In the case of a grafted rose, this is the area where the bud was grafted to the root stock.

Calyx

Counting from the peduncle, this is the first of a series of floral parts composed of sepals.

Cane

The stems of a rose.

Carpel

Organ bearing the ovules along its margins.

Filament

The stalk of the stamen that supports the anther.

Inflorescence

Group of flowers.

Leaflet

Rose leaves are described as ‘pinnate’ meaning there is a central rib and then leaflets off to each side, with one terminal leaflet. Most modern roses have 5-leaflets and occasionally include a few 3-leaflets close to the bloom.

Margin

The edge of a leaf or petal.

Ovary

The swollen basal portion of a pistil that contains to ovules or seeds.

Ovule

The structure that, after fertilization, develops into the seed .

Peduncle

The main stem of an inflorescence or individual flower.

Petal

One of the units of the corolla of the flower.

Petiole

The stalk of the leaf.

Pistils

The central organ of the flower made up of one or more carpels and containing the ovule.

Prickle

Commonly referred to as a thorn.

Roots

The underground parts of the rose that support the plant and absorb water and nutrients to feed the plant.

Sepals

One of the units of the calyx, roses generally have five sepals.

Stamen

The organ of the flowers that produces the pollen.

Stipule

Attached to a leaf and found on the lower part of the petiole and may be partially attached to the stem.



As summer turns into fall, the rose season, sadly, is drawing to a close. But on the bright side, the season of rose hips is finally here! I’ll attempt to explain what rose hips are and why you want them, but first it to really understand rose hips, first we need to understand flower anatomy and fruiting.

Flowers get pollinated when the pollen from an anther makes its way to the stigma of another flower of the same species (or the same flower, if it is a self-pollinator). Pollinators like bees often aid in this process. The pollen travels down the style and fertilizes ovules in the flower’s ovary. Once the flower is pollinated, the ovary structure typically develops into fruit, while the ovule typically develops into seeds. The petals often fall away and the plant shunts its energy into the fruit, giving less energy to new flowers. I’ll explain why this matters to the rose gardener, but first let’s look at the anatomy of a rose bush.

Terminology


Here is a fantastic video from the renowned Rosarian Paul Zimmerman where he defines several other common terms related to roses.

In this video, he does a wonderful job of explaining and clarifying several esoteric terms that you might here rose gardeners bandy about, like: Outward-Facing Bud Eye, Main Eye, Guard Eye, Five-Leaflet Leaf Set, Bud Union, Basal Break, Blind Shoot, and Rose Hip.


Take a look: Rose Hips and Other Terms



Why Rose Hips Matter


In most modern roses, selective breeding has made the filaments shrink down while the petals proliferate and grow larger. The result is that most modern roses are much harder to pollinate because insects simply can’t get down to the pollen. Many single roses, shrub roses, and/or species roses are still able to pollinate “the old fashioned way”, but the hardest-to-pollinate rose species generally rely on rose breeders to keep propagating them.

You might not be a rose breeder who cares about getting viable rose seeds, but you should still pay attention to rose hips because 1. You want your plant to keep blooming, and 2. You want your plant to survive the winter. So, throughout the blooming season you should keep your roses from forming hips. You do this by deadheading (snipping off spent blooms) whenever the petals start to fall off. Doing this keeps sending the signal to the rose that it hasn’t successfully bred yet, and it needs to keep producing more flowers. In the fall you want to STOP deadheading and instead let your roses set hips. This sends the signal to your plant that it has done its job and can stop flowering and start getting ready for winter. A rose that is still trying to bloom when the first frost arrives is much more likely to suffer frost damage than a rose that has already gone dormant.

Rose hips are also a nutritious, Vitamin C rich treat. You can enjoy them yourself by making rose hip jam or jelly OR you can leave them on your shrubs and give the local birds a snack to help get them through the winter.



SHOP FOR ROSES