Jepson eFlora: Key page
Vascular Plants of California
Key to families | Table of families and genera

Key to Malvaceae

View taxon page for Malvaceae


Jepson Manual glossary definitions can be seen by moving your cursor over words underlined with dots.

1. Flower generally < 3 mm wide; petals with thread-like clawsovaryfruit stalked ..... AYENIA

1' Flower generally > 3 mm wide; petals 0 or without thread-like claws; ovary, fruit not stalked

2. Petals 0; calyx showy, generally > 25 mm wide; flowers 1 in  axilsshrub, small tree ..... FREMONTODENDRON

2' Petals 5, often showy; calyx not showy, generally < 25 mm wide; flowers 1 in leaf axils or not; annual herb, to small tree

3. Fruitcapsuleseeds 2–many per chamber; flowers showy, generally 1 in leaf axils or on  short-shoots

4. Fruit chambers 3–5; style not branched, generally shallowly lobed at tip;  3(5)-lobed, leaf-like, generally persistent; seeds obovoid or angular, generally long-white-hairy; fruit generally gland-dotted ..... [Gossypium hirsutum]

4' Fruit chambers 5; style branched or deeply lobed at tip; involucel 3–12-lobed, not leaf-like, shed in age or not; seeds , short-hairy or glabrous; fruit not gland-dotted

5. Style 5-branched at tip; petals generally white, yellow, lavender, or red; involucel 5–12(20)-lobed, persistent ..... HIBISCUS

5' Style 5-lobed at tip; petals white, pink, blue, or purple; involucel 3–6-lobed, persistent or not

6. Perennial herb to shrub; petals generally white, yellow, blue, or lilac-blue to purple, membranous; involucel  6, , persistent ..... [Alyogyne huegelii]

6' Small tree; petals white to rose-pink, fleshy; involucel lobes 3–5, generally , generally deciduous ..... LAGUNARIA

3' Fruit of 5–40 segments that generally separate from axis and each other when mature; seeds generally 1–4(15) per chamber; flowers showy or not, 1–10 in leaf axils or > 1 in , or 

7. Stigmas linear, on inner side of style branches; fruit segments 

8. Anthers near top of filament tube, in 2 concentric seriesbractlets subtending calyx 0(1–3), generally not forming involucel; fruit segments 5–10, beak short or 0 ..... SIDALCEA

8' Anthers near top of filament tube, below, not in 2 series; bractlets subtending calyx 3–11, generally forming involucel; fruit segments 5–40, beak 0

9. Bractlets 5–11, fused; flowers generally > 6 cm wide, in (spike-) or raceme-like petal veins generally indistinct; stem  ..... ALCEA

9' Bractlets 3, free or ± fused; flowers generally < 6 cm wide, 1–10 in leaf axils, generally not in spike- or raceme-like cymes (occasionally in raceme-like cymes in Malva); petal veins often distinct; stem  to erect

10. Fruit segments generally lacking edges, seed generally not firmly enclosed by, readily separating from fruit wall; bractlets fused ± 1/2 ..... LAVATERA

10' Fruit segments generally with edges, seed firmly enclosed by, not readily separating from fruit wall; bractlets free or fused ± 1/2 ..... MALVA

7' Stigmas head-like or obliquely squared, at tip of style branches; fruit segments indehiscent or ± 

11. Fruit segment below indehiscent, firm, net-veined, above dehiscent, with 2 scarious wings; bractlets 0; shrub; PR, DSon ..... HORSFORDIA

11' Fruit segment indehiscent or not, net-veined or not, wings 0; bractlets 0–3; annual to shrub; widespread including e PR, DSon

12. Fruit segment generally 1–6(15)-seeded

13. Petals salmon-orange; fruit segment 2-chambered, 2-seeded; flowers 1 in leaf axils; bractlets 3, ± persistent; stem  to prostrate, rooting ..... MODIOLA

13' Petals occasionally salmon-orange; fruit segment 1–±2-chambered, 1–6(15)-seeded; flowers 1 in leaf axils, or in , raceme, or panicle; bractlets 0–3, persistent or not; stem erect or prostrate, generally not rooting

14. Petals generally pale yellow, orange, white, pink, or ± red; bractlets 0; seeds 3–9(15) per fruit segment

15. Stem generally erect (decumbent); petals yellow, yellow-orange, orange-pink, or ± red; fruit segment not inflated, 3–6(15)-seeded, walls firm to woody ..... ABUTILON

15' Stem generally decumbent or trailing; petals white to pale yellow; fruit segment inflated, 3-seeded, walls flexible, papery ..... HERISSANTIA

14' Petals white, ± rose, pink, ± lavender, or red-orange; bractlets generally 1–3; seeds 1–3(4) per fruit segment

16. Fruit segment bristly, ± dehiscent to base, generally not net-veined; bractlets 3, ± persistent; stigmas generally oblique-squared, often ± elongate; NCo, NCoRH, CaR, MP (Shasta Co.), KR ..... ILIAMNA

16' Fruit segment generally not bristly, below indehiscent, strongly net-veined, above dehiscent, smooth; bractlets (0)1–3, generally deciduous; stigmas generally symmetric, head-like; especially D or disturbed areas ..... SPHAERALCEA (3)

16'a. Bractlets 3, conspicuous, persistent; petals dark-veined at base; generally disturbed urban sites ..... [Anisodontea capensis] (2)

16'a' Bractlets (0)1–3, inconspicuous, generally deciduous; petals not dark-veined; generally D ..... SPHAERALCEA (3)

12' Fruit segment generally 1-seeded

17. Bractlets 0

18. Generally subshrub (annual); fruit segment below indehiscent, strongly net-veined, above dehiscent, smooth; native, especially D ..... SPHAERALCEA (3)

18' Generally annual (perennial herb); fruit segment ± uniform; naturalized, widespread, including D

19. Petals ± purple, white, or yellow; leaves generally ± lobed to ; fruit segment side walls disintegrating ..... ANODA

19' Petals pale- to orange-yellow; leaves unlobed; fruit segment side walls not disintegrating ..... [Sida rhombifolia]

17' Bractlets generally 1–3, occasionally deciduous in flower or fruit

20. Fruit segment dehiscent; flowers generally > 1 in leaf axils; widespread, generally chaparral ..... MALACOTHAMNUS

20' Fruit segment partly or fully indehiscent; flowers 1 in leaf axils or in generally raceme-like cymes; generally D or disturbed sites

21. Fruit segment below indehiscent, sides strongly net-veined, above dehiscent, sides smooth; petals generally rose-pink to salmon-orange; inflorescence raceme-like, generally in panicle, flowers facing out ..... SPHAERALCEA (3)

21a. Bractlets 3, conspicuous, persistent; petals dark-veined at base; generally disturbed urban sites ..... [Anisodontea capensis] (2)

21a' Bractlets (0)3, inconspicuous, generally deciduous; petals not dark-veined; generally D ..... SPHAERALCEA (3)

21' Fruit segment generally indehiscent, sides generally ± weakly net-veined; petals generally white, pale ± yellow, or ± purple; inflorescence raceme or flowers generally 1 in leaf axils, facing up

22. Annual, prostrate to erect, not weedy, green, glabrous or generally sparsely stellate-hairy; leaf base symmetric; petals white to ± purple ..... EREMALCHE

22' Perennial herb, generally prostrate, generally weedy, ± gray, densely stellate-canescent or hairs scaly; leaf base ; petals generally pale ± yellow ..... MALVELLA



Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) . Jepson eFlora, [accessed on ]

Citation for an individual treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] [year]. [Taxon name] in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, [URL for treatment]. Accessed on .

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