Family composed of 104 genera and about 4,830 species of trees, shrubs and herbs, widespread throughout almost the entire world, from the tropics to the polar regions. In North Africa it is particularly well represented, with 17 genera, of which the majority (10) have tree and/or shrubby species. There is a shrub in this family from which only a single North African location is known, Spiraea hypericifolia L. subsp. obovata (Waldst. & Kit. ex Willd.) H.Huber [S. hispanica (Willd.) Hoffmans. & Link, S. obovata Waldst. & Kit. ex Willd.], a deciduous shrub up to 1.5 m in height, with obovate leaves, entire except at the tip, which can have 3-5 small lobules or obtuse teeth, and fruits in dehiscent follicle. An Eurasian species that appears in Morocco at Cape Cotelle, near Bu Ahmed (central-western littoral Rif), probably naturalised.

Potter, D., Eriksson, T., Evans, R.C., Oh, S., Smedmark, J.E.E., Morgan, D.R., Kerr, M., Robertson, K.R., Arsenault, M., Dickinson, T.A. & Campbell, C.S. 2007. Phylogeny and classification of Rosaceae. Plant Systematics and Evolution. 266 (1-2): 5-43.

Key to genera

1 Small cushion-shaped shrubs, with terminal dichotomous spines, leafless Sarcopoterium

1 Trees or shrubs, leafless or, if spiny, then with prickles or spines, not dichotomous 2

2 Shrubs with stems and branches with numerous short and thick prickles, curved, with very wide base, which are easily removed without damaging the plant 3

2 Trees or bushes without spines, or rarely spiny with woody, straight spines, that form part of branching of plants 4

3 Flowers with free carpels, prominently displayed on the receptacle. Fruit composed of numerous drupes, grouped in a dense globose head Rubus

3 Carpels inside receptacle. Fruit solitary, isolated, ovoid Rosa

4 Calyx caducous, located beneath ovary. Carpels free, visible on receptacle 5

4 Calyx persistent, with sepals crowning fruit. Carpels inside receptacle 6

5 Carpel 1. Fruit fleshy Prunus

5 Carpels 5. Fruits dry, dehiscent Spiraea

6 Fruits with externally hardened endocarp, stony 7

6 Fruits fleshy slightly hardened endocarp 8

7 Leaves with entire margin or slightly crenate Cotoneaster

7 Leaves usually lobulate-dentate, sometimes with very deep lobes that almost reach the central nerve Crataegus

8 Leaves simple or compound. Inflorescence compound, consisting of several racemes Sorbus

8 Leaves simple. Inflorescence simple, umbel or raceme 9

9 Shrubs. Petals linear-oblong. Fruit globose Amelanchier

9 Trees. Petals ovoid or suborbicular. Fruit pyriform Pyrus

Updated by: A.V. Pérez Latorre & N. Hidalgo