Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.



Steven R. Hill, except as specified

Annual, perennial herb, shrubs, trees, generally stellate-hairy; juice sticky; inner bark tough, fibrous
Leaves alternate, simple, petioled; blade generally palmately veined or lobed, stipules present
Inflorescence often leafy; whorl or involucre of bractlets often subtending calyx
Flower generally bisexual, radial; calyx lobes 5, margins abutting in bud; petals 5, free (fused at base to filament tube, so falling together); stamens many, filaments fused into a tube surrounding style, tube fused in turn to petal bases; pistil 1, ovary superior, chambers generally 5 or more, style branches, stigmas generally 1 or 2 X as many as chambers
Fruit of 5–many disk- or wedge-shaped segments, loculicidal capsule, or berry
Genera in family: 100 genera, 2000 species: worldwide, especially warm regions; some cultivated (e.g., Abelmoschus , okra; Alcea ; Gossypium , cotton; Hibiscus , Malvaviscus )
Recent taxonomic note: Recently treated to include Sterculiaceae [Angiosperm phylogeny Group 1998 Ann Missouri Bot Gard 85:531–553; Alverson et al. 1999 Amer J Bot 86:1474–1486; Bayer et al. 1999 Bot J Linn Soc 129:267–303]
Mature fruit important for identification.


Species in genus: 1 sp.: Am; introduced into Old World
Etymology: (Latin: body of wheel, from fruit)


M. caroliniana (L.) Don

Perennial (rarely annual), bristly
Stem decumbent, rooting at base, 1.5–5 dm
Leaf: blade 5–8 cm, 2–5 cm wide, reniform, round, or triangular, deeply toothed to 3–7-lobed, lobes (if any) ± pinnate
Inflorescence: flowers solitary in axils; bractlets subtending calyx generally 3, generally narrowly lanceolate
Flower: calyx 5–6 mm, enlarging slightly in fruit, lobes widely triangular-ovate, ± = tube; petals 3–8 mm, generally > calyx, red-orange; filaments borne at stamen-tube tip only; stigmas head-like
Fruit: segments 14–22, 4 mm, reniform, black, upper chamber bristly, 2-beaked, smooth-sided, lower chamber glabrous, sides wrinkled
Chromosomes: 2n=18
Ecology: Lawns, disturbed places
Elevation: generally < 400 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province
Distribution outside California: to se US; probably native to S.America; widely naturalized

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