The Rose family belongs to the temperate zone and provides us with many edible fruits, such as the apple (Malus), pear (Pyrus) and quince (Chaenomeles). In the same family we find raspberries and blackberries (Rubus) and the strawberry (Fragaria), otherwise known as the 'inside-out raspberry'. The Rosaceae family is a worldwide family of herbs, shrubs and trees with about 100 genera and 2000 to 3000 species. It has long been considered to have four subfamilies, but recent research suggests that one or more of these subfamilies should be lumped together. Rosaceae includes popular ornamentals like roses, spirea, cotoneaster, potentilla, and photinia. It also contains stone fruits (cherry, plum, and peach), pome fruits (apple and pear), and berries (raspberries, blackberries and strawberries).
The rose itself has been used ornamentally for centuries; its hips are a rich source of Vitamin C and were used as a syrup during World War II to fortify the diet (one cup of hips is equal in value to 12 oranges).
From Erica: Other members of the Rose family: Cotoneaster is closely related to Crataegus; its name means 'quince-like fruit'. As a plant it is difficult to identify, as it is still evolving and, at the same time, promiscuous. It is susceptible to the fire blight disease which occurs at flowering time and is quickly spread from flower to flower by nectar-seeking bees. Hawthorn: Crataegus, contains a glycoside with digitalis-like properties. Paul Bunyan had a hawthorn backscratcher. It is said, that if you eat too many of the berries, you will have 'a devil in your stomach'! Quince: Cydonia oblonga, from which delicious jelly is made; it is used as a dwarf rooting stock for pears chiefly.
Chimera: The rose is unusual in the Plant Kingdom in that it hybridizes or crossbreeds within its family, producing what is known as a 'chimera', a word taken from the Greek word meaning a monster with lion's head, goat's body and serpent's tail! Some botanical examples in the Rose family are Crataemespilus (hawthorn and medlar cross) and Sorbaronia (Sorbus and Aronia cross).  The Encyclopedia Britannica Online defines a chimera (also spelled chimaera) as 'a plant or plant part that is a mixture of two or more genetically different types of cells'. There are various categories of plant chimeras.
Rose History from Erica: Apart from her beauty, the rose gives us a marvelous sense of history. Among the many roses found in our gardens are Maiden's Blush (Rosa alba)which originated in Kurdestan, was mentioned by Pliny in 77 AD, and eventually, 500 years ago, found its way into English heraldry. This same rose may be seen in Botticelli's famous 'Birth of Venus'. It was given by Flora McDonald to Bonnie Prince Charlie as he escaped from Scotland and was, thereafter, worn at the French Court as an indication of support for the Prince's cause.
There are many more interesting historical facts regarding roses, too numerous to mention here, but two words we use that are derived from rose could be mentioned: 'rosary', so called because the 'beads' were made originally from rolled petals and gave off a delightful perfume. And 'sub rosa': whenever secret matters were discussed by the Romans, a rose was suspended from the ceiling; later, carvings took the place of the living flowers, and were particularly popular in Victorian times.
The Romans imported roses to Rome from Alexandria for their feasts; they were shipped as buds packed in salt; on arrival they were washed, the flowers put in a warm oven to open and the leaves freshened with wine. Nowadays [1990s] the rose is grown commercially mainly in the Valley of the Roses in Bulgaria and in the mountain valleys of Morocco, where peasants bring in baskets of buds fresh with dew to the collectors' stands, whence they are rushed to processing factories, so that we can have rose water for confections and cooking and attar of roses for perfume.
Attar is made from musk roses and at one time sold for six times its weight in gold (four tons of rose petals = one pound of attar). It is made by placing successive layers of petals on fat and extracting the attar with alcohol. Five hundred camel loads were used by the sultan Saladin in 1187 to purify the Temple of Omar which had been used as a Christian church.
Miniature roses were found by Dr. Roulet in 1918 in a Swiss window box. They are thought to have originated in China and thence to Madagascar and on to France where they were lost. They are mostly scentless and were developed in Denmark after their discovery.
Famous Rose Gardens: The Roselado in Madrid; La Roseraie de l'Hay in Paris (a living museum started by the founder of the Bon Marche department store); La Bagatelle bequeathed to France by Sir Richard Wallace (who also bequeathed the Wallace art collection to London). And of course the famous garden of Malmaison, outside of Paris, where roses were Empress Josephine's special hobby and Redouté was the court rose painter.
Rose Names: French roses had very romantic names before Napoleon, e.g. 'Cuisse de Nymphe' ['Nymph's Thigh']. Later, these names were switched to those of famous generals. One rose that had been named after Napoleon was renamed 'Folie de Corse' after his downfall.
Native Use: Aboriginal people used large branches of the wild rose to sweep the evil spirits out of the grave before burial, and the branches were also used underneath (luckily) the bedding for the same reason.
Oddities: The Moss Rose (Rosa centifolia muscosa) was a bud sport found in France in the seventeenth century. Napoleon's Hat (Rosa centifolia cristata) was called that because it resembled a tricorn hat.
Oldest Rose is supposed to be the Tildesheim Abbey rose, over 1000 years old.
Thorns: It was said that while Eros was admiring a beautiful rose, he was stung by a bee, and in punishment he shot the rose bush with his arrows which turned into thorns!  In fact, roses do not have thorns; they have prickles.
The Bourbon rose was found on the Isle of Bourbon (today Réunion). This hybrid arose from a hedge planted with two roses, Parson's Pink China (carried to the island by the French East India Line) and the Pink Autumn Damask (carried south by Arab dhows); this hybrid was noticed and developed by M. Penchon and exported to France in 1819.
Damask Rose(R. sancta) is still found in Abyssinian churchyards, where it was brought by St. Fremontius from Syria who established the Christian church there in the 4th century.
Rosa foetida (Austrian copper rose) is used in hybridization of floribunda roses.
Rosa rugosa was brought from Kyoto in 1784 and is a very robust, fragrant rose, with hips extra rich in Vitamin C which are much enjoyed in China.