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 Mallow family
Least Mallow, Malva parviflora
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[[{{{domain}}}]] > [[{{{superregnum}}}]] > Plantae > [[{{{subregnum}}}]] > [[{{{superdivisio}}}]] > [[{{{superphylum}}}]] > Magnoliophyta > [[{{{phylum}}}]] > [[{{{subdivisio}}}]] > [[{{{subphylum}}}]] > [[{{{infraphylum}}}]] > [[{{{microphylum}}}]] > [[{{{nanophylum}}}]] > [[{{{superclassis}}}]] > Magnoliopsida > [[{{{subclassis}}}]] > [[{{{infraclassis}}}]] > [[{{{superordo}}}]] > Malvales > [[{{{subordo}}}]] > [[{{{infraordo}}}]] > [[{{{superfamilia}}}]] > Malvaceae > [[{{{subfamilia}}}]] > [[{{{supertribus}}}]] > [[{{{tribus}}}]] > [[{{{subtribus}}}]] > [[{{{genus}}}]] {{{subgenus}}} {{{sectio}}} {{{series}}} {{{species}}} {{{subspecies}}} var. {{{cultivar}}}

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Malvaceae (from the genus Mallow, altered from the Greek, in allusion to the mucilaginous emollient qualities). Mallow Family. Fig. 37. Herbs, shrubs or trees, with alternate, simple, usually palmately veined leaves: flowers bisexual, regular; sepals 5, often united, valvate, frequently bracteolate at the base; petals 5, convolute, often adnate to the stamens; stamens very numerous, hypogynous, the filaments united into a tube (monadelphous), anthers 1-celled, pollen spiny; ovary superior, 2 to many-celled, rarely 1-celled; ovules in each cell 1 to many; styles and stigmas usually as many as the carpels: fruit a capsule or separating into drupelets, very rarely fleshy.

The Mallows include 39 genera and from 800 to 900 species, distributed over the whole earth, except in the arctic zone, but most abundant in tropical America. The Malvaceae are closely related to the Sterculiaceae and Tiliaceae. From the former they are distinguished by their 1-celled anthers and rough pollen, and from the latter by their monadelphous stamens as well as the 1-celled anthers. The hollyhock-like flower is characteristic.

The foliage, stems, and seeds of most Malvaceae contain abundant mucilage for which, in some countries, they have been used as medicine. Pungent and poisonous properties are apparently wanting. Althaea officinalis (marsh mallow of Europe), Malva sylvestris and M. rotundifolia, both of Europe, have been used as emollients. Hibiscus Sabdariffa and H. digitatus (white and rod ketmies of tropical Africa) have acid juice and are used in the preparation of refreshing drinks. The capsule of H. (Abelmoschus) esculentus (okra or gumbo) of the tropics is eaten in soup, or cooked and seasoned. The seeds of H. Abelmoschus of India, now widely cultivated in the tropics, are used for perfumery. H. Rosa-sinensis (Chinese hibiscus or shoeblack plant) contains a coloring matter in the flower with which the Chinese blacken shoes and eyebrows. Althaea cannabina of southern Europe has fibers which may be used in place of hemp. The fibers of Urena lobata, Abutilon indicum, Sida, Hibiscus cannabinus, H. tiliaceus, and others, are also used. The most useful genus is Gossypium (cotton) of Egypt, India, and tropical America, the abundant, long, woolly hairs on the seeds of which furnish the cotton of commerce. Cotton seed yields an oil which is used for fuel, cattle-food, soap, artificial butter, and many other purposes. Several mallows are weedy plants.

Many of the genera in cultivation in N. America are among the most important old-fashioned cultivated garden plants. Among these are: Abutilon (Indian Mallow, Velvet Leaf); Althaea (Marsh Mallow, Hollyhock); Callirhoe (Poppy Mallow); Gossypium (Cotton); Hibiscus (Bladder Ketmia, Roselle, Jamaica Sorrel, Okra, Gumbo, Rose of Sharon, Mountain Mahoe, Shoeblack Plant); Malope; Malvastrum; Pavonia; Sida; Sphaeralcea.CH

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


Sources: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Kubitzki Vol. 5 (2003)(as subfamily Malvoideae) and Malvaceae Info Website.wp


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