The Rosaceae family, commonly known simply as the Rose family is one of the most important families for both the herbalist and forager to know. One of our very best nourishing heart tonics is in this family along with many edible fruits that are high in anti-oxidants.
For the herbalist, plants in this family are sometimes referred to as YARFA (Yet Another Rose Family Astringent), a phrase coined by Michael Moore. He was right, these are dependably astringent and have many applications for that herbal action.
This family is large and diverse enough to have sub-families. This article does not address this category. “Botany in a Day” by Tom Elpel is recommended for that information.
For foragers, many of the edibles fruits in this family are available both in their wild form (strawberries, blackberries, chokecherries) and in abandoned orchards that have gone feral. As a child, I spent many a midwestern summer feasting on wild versions of cherries, pears, blackberries and apples. It wasn’t called foraging then; it was simply known as eating.
Many uses including the flowers, rose hips as a food and the essential oil
–Crataegus – Hawthorn
(berries, leaves and flowers) is a primary cardiotonic in Western Herbalism
–Fallugia – Apache Plume
–Spirea – Meadowsweet
A primary salicylic herb
–Prunus – Plum, cherries, nectarines, almonds, peaches, apricots
Many berries; raspberry, blackberry, salmonberry, thimbleberry.
Raspberry leaves also make a mineral rich astringing infusion