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Annual to tree; generally with stellate hairs, often with bristles or peltate scales; juice generally mucilage-like; bark fibrous. Leaf: generally cauline, alternate, petioled, simple [palmate-compound], generally palmate-lobed and/or veined, generally toothed, evergreen or not; stipules persistent or not. Inflorescence: head, spike, raceme, or panicle, in panicle or not (a compound panicle), or flowers >= 1 in leaf axils, or flowers generally 1 opposite a leaf or on a spur; bracts leaf-like or not; bractlets 0 or on flowering stalks, often closely subtending calyx, generally in involucel. Flower: generally bisexual, radial; sepals 5, generally fused at base, abutting in bud, larger in fruit or not, nectaries as tufts of glandular hairs at base; petals (0)5, free from each other but generally fused at base to, falling with filament tube, clawed or not; stamens 5–many, filaments fused for most of length into tube around style, staminodes 5, alternate stamens, or generally 0; pistil 1, ovary superior, stalked or generally not, chambers generally >= 5, styles or style branches, stigmas generally 1 or 1–2 × chamber number. Fruit: loculicidal capsule, [berry], or 5–many, disk- or wedge-shaped segments (= mericarps).
266 genera, 4025 species: worldwide, especially warm regions; some cultivated (e.g., Abelmoschus okra; Alcea hollyhock; Gossypium cotton; Hibiscus hibiscus). [Angiosperm Phylogeny Group 1998 Ann Missouri Bot Gard 85:531–553] Recently treated to include Bombacaceae, Sterculiaceae, Tiliaceae. Mature fruit needed for identification; "outer edges" are surfaces between sides and back (abaxial surface) of segment. "Flower stalk" used instead of "pedicel", "peduncle", especially where both needed (i.e., when flowers both 1 in leaf axils and otherwise). —Scientific Editors: Steven R. Hill, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Unabridged references: [Alverson et al. 1999 Amer J Bot 86:1474–1486; Bayer et al. 1999 Bot J Linn Soc 129:267–303; Hill 2009 Madroño 56:104–111]
Key to Malvaceae
Generally shrub, generally erect; hairs sparse to dense, stellate (stalked or sessile), simple, and glandular. Leaf: petioled; blade unlobed to 3–7-lobed, coarsely or shaggy-hairy to tomentose. Inflorescence: head- to panicle-like, flowers generally > 1 in leaf axils; bracts leaf-like or not, in involucre or not; bractlets 3, free, linear to lanceolate, persistent. Flower: calyx 5-lobed; petals 5, pale pink-purple or white (often ± purple when dry); petals generally > calyx, fused at base; stamens open prior to stigma maturation; style branches 5–14. Fruit: segments 5–14, 2–5 mm, separating, dehiscent, smooth, top hairy, beak 0. Seed: 1 per segment, brown to black.Key to Malacothamnus
12 species: California, northwestern Mexico. (Greek: soft shrub) Malacothamnus foliosus (S. Watson) Kearney reported but evidently not documented for California.
Unabridged etymology: (Greek: malakos, soft, thamnos, shrub)
Unabridged references: [Kearney 1951 Leafl W Bot 6:93–131; Fryxell 1988 Syst Bot Monogr:270–274]
Plant 2 m, branches slender; hairs dense, ± yellow, woolly, occasionally glandular. Leaf: blade 3–6 cm, round to ovate, thin, 3–5-lobed, long-shaggy-hairy abaxially, sparsely short-hairy adaxially. Inflorescence: spike-like; flowers generally >= 10 per node; leaf-like bracts < 3; flowering stalks 1–1.5 cm; bractlets >= calyx. Flower: calyx <= 1 cm, ± 0.4 cm wide, hairs <= 3 mm; petals 1–2 cm; filament column < petals. Fruit: segments 2.2–3.8 mm, ovate, shallowly notched, brown.
2n=34. Chaparral slopes; 100–1100 m. South Coast, San Bernardino Mountains, Peninsular Ranges, Sonoran Desert; northern Baja California. [Malacothamnus densiflorus var. viscidus (Abrams) Kearney] May–Jul, Sep–Oct [Online Interchange]
Previous taxon: Malacothamnus davidsonii
Next taxon: Malacothamnus fasciculatus
Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on Apr 21 2014
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2012. Malacothamnus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=32516, accessed on Apr 21 2014
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