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MALVACEAE

MALLOW FAMILY

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.

MALVA

MALLOW

Annual, biennial, perennial herb, generally ± glabrous
Stem prostrate to erect, generally < 1 m
Leaf petioled; blade round to reniform, generally crenate, lobes 0 or shallow
Inflorescence: flowers 1–several in axils; bractlets subtending calyx generally 3, free
Flower: calyx lobes ± = tube; petals white, pink, or purple; anthers borne along filament tube, not clustered; stigmas linear, on inner side of style branches
Fruit: segments generally 6–15, indehiscent; beak 0
Seed 1 per segment
Species in genus: 100 species: Eur, Asia, Africa
Etymology: (Greek: mallow)
Some species reportedly TOXIC to livestock from selenium or nitrate concentration.

Introduced

M. parviflora L.

CHEESEWEED, LITTLE MALLOW

Annual
Stem erect, 2–8 dm, widely branching, ± stellate near tips, glabrous below
Leaf: blade 2–8 cm wide, 5–7-angled to -lobed, teeth ± rounded
Inflorescence: flowers 2–4 per axil, crowded; pedicels in fruit generally < 10 mm; bractlets 1–2 mm, linear
Flower: calyx ± 3 mm in flower, enlarging and spreading in fruit, net-veined, lobes widely ovate; petals 4–5 mm, white to pink, glabrous
Fruit: segments ± 11, back wrinkled, net-veined, glabrous to hairy, margins thin-winged, finely toothed
Ecology: Common. Disturbed places
Elevation: < 1500 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province, Desert
Distribution outside California: native to Eurasia; widespread weed
Fls nearly all year.

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