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Vascular Plants of California
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Malvella leprosa

Higher Taxonomy
Family: MalvaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: 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).
Genera In Family: 266 genera, 4025 species: worldwide, especially warm regions; some cultivated (e.g., Abelmoschus okra; Alcea hollyhock; Gossypium cotton; Hibiscus hibiscus). Note: 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).
eFlora Treatment Author: Steven R. Hill, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Steven R. Hill, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: MalvellaView Description 

Habit: (Annual) perennial herb; hairs stellate or scale-like. Stem: prostrate to decumbent. Leaf: blade generally asymmetric, generally silvery-stellate-hairy. Inflorescence: flowers 1 in leaf axils; flower stalk +- jointed at tip, generally recurved in fruit. Flower: calyx lobes +- = tube, ovate or cordate; petals stellate-hairy in bud, cream-white to yellow generally fading to rose-pink; filament tube glabrous, anthers at tip; styles 7--10, stigmas head-like. Fruit: segments generally 7--10, indehiscent, beak 0. Seed: 1 per segment, glabrous.
Species In Genus: 4 species: America, Mediterranean, introduced elsewhere. Etymology: (Greek, Latin: small mallow)
Unabridged Reference: Fryxell 1988 Syst Bot Monogr 25:298--302
Malvella leprosa (Ortega) Krapov.
Habit: Annual, perennial herb. Stem: decumbent, 1--4 dm, densely white-stellate-hairy; some hairs bristly, some scale-like. Leaf: blade 1--3.5 cm, reniform to triangular, densely white-stellate-hairy, base asymmetric, margin toothed, wavy. Inflorescence: flower stalk +- = subtending petiole; bractlets (0)3, thread-like, generally deciduous. Flower: calyx 6--10 mm, divided 1/2, generally pink or pink-dotted abaxially, hairs as on stem; petals 10--15 mm, cream-white to yellow, occasionally with rose tint; styles 7--10, > filament tube. Fruit: +- 7 mm diam; segments 7--10, 3 mm, minutely puberulent on back, generally net-veined on sides. Chromosomes: 2n=22,32.
Ecology: Valleys, generally saline; Elevation: < 1500(2500) m. Bioregional Distribution: CA (esp GV); Distribution Outside California: to Washington, Idaho, Texas, Mexico, southern South America; Australia (introduced). Toxicity: Reported to be TOXIC to sheep, perhaps other livestock. Flowering Time: Apr--Nov Note: Agricultural weed, especially in orchards.
Synonyms: Sida leprosa (Ortega) K. Schum. var. hederacea (Douglas) K. Schum.
Jepson eFlora Author: Steven R. Hill
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Malvella leprosa

botanical illustration including Malvella leprosa


Citation for this treatment: Steven R. Hill 2012, Malvella leprosa, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 04, 2022.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2022, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 04, 2022.

Malvella leprosa
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© 2016 Keir Morse
Malvella leprosa
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© 2016 Keir Morse
Malvella leprosa
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© 2001 Tony Morosco
Malvella leprosa
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© 2009 Neal Kramer
Malvella leprosa
click for enlargement
© 2009 Neal Kramer
Malvella leprosa
click for enlargement
© 2015 Neal Kramer

More photos of Malvella leprosa in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Malvella leprosa:
CA (esp GV)
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2. County and Jepson Region polygons can be turned off and on using the check boxes.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).