As many aromatherapy students know, plants within the same botanical family share common characteristics and properties. The Rosaceae plant family has gained its popularity from one specific plant family member: the rose. However, the Rosaceae plant family contains other plant species that are commonly used to extract other oils.
Botanical Profile of the Rosaceae Plant Family
The Rosaceae plant’s family contains approximately 100 genera and 2,000 plus plant species, all of which share some common characteristics. Rosaceae plant family members are trees, shrubs, and herbs of various sizes. In general, they have pinnate leaves, with serrated edges, that are arranged spirally. The flowers have five sepals, five petals, and several stamens that are arranged in many ways. Rosaceae plant family members also have fruits, in various forms; these fruits give up various carrier oils for aromatherapy.
Plant species that belong to the Rosaceae plant family are found in many climates and ecological conditions throughout the world, although the majority of plant species are found in the Northern hemisphere. The Rosaceae plant’s family is a large, diverse family that contains several thousand species with varying uses.
Carrier Oils of the Rosaceae Plant Family
The Rosaceae plant family contains plant species that produce common fruits such as apricots, almonds, cherries, peaches, plums, blackberries, and raspberries – all of which produce a carrier oil. Fruits may be soft and fleshy, such as drupes, or hard pseudo carps such as hips. Fruits are usually purple, red, or yellow. Two of the common genre for carrier oils in the Rosaceae plant family are Prunus and Rubus, in addition to Rosa (rosehip).
Carrier oil extracted from the Rosaceae plant family include:
- sweet almond (Prunus dulcis)
- apricot (Prunus armeniaca)
- cherry (Prunus avium)
- peach (Prunus persica)
- plum (Prunus (x) domestic)
- red raspberry (Rubus idaeus)
- black raspberry (Rubus occidentalis)
- blackberry (Rubus fructicosus)
- rosehip (Rosa canina).
Rose Essential Oil of the Rosaceae Plant Family
The rose is the most well known aromatic member of the Rosaceae plant family and it is used as an essential oil, absolute, extract, and concrete in aromatherapy for both therapeutic and perfumery purposes. There are various species of rose used in aromatherapy including:
- Damask rose (Rosa x damascena)
- May (cabbage) rose (Rosa x centifolia)
- Gallic rose (Rosa gallica)
- white rose (Rosa alba)