The Dilleniidae
Family Overview - The Malvales
Malvaceae - the Mallow Family

Diversity:  A family of 75 genera and over 1,000 species of herbs and shrubs that includes taxa domesticated for food (okra - Abelmoschus esculentus), fiber (cotton - Gossypium), and ornament (Hibiscus, hollyhock -  Alcea)

Distribution:  World wide, but most diverse in the tropics.  The Texas flora includes 31 genera, 94 species, and 15 infraspecific taxa.

Floral structure:malvaceae - ff

Significant features:  Vegetative characters include a general palmate pattern of leaf structure (a 'subset' character relative to pinnate), mucilaginous sap (okra), an epicalyx (many genera), and unusual, often complex trichomes.  The androecium of the Malvaceae, with its monadelphous stamens, is a primary key character.  This is supplemented by the pentamerous, actinomorphic corolla that is basally adnate to the androecium.  The syncarpous (or rarely monocarpic) gynoecium matures to form either a capsule, a schizocarp (carpels separate as dispersal units, no dehiscence), or - rarely - a berry.
 
 

malv - leaf malv - flr
Hibiscus - with monadelphous stamens forming a tube through which the style emerges Abutilon - palmate pattern of lef venation and lobing Callirhoe involucrata - (wine cup) - epicalyx, calyx, and coroll


 
A hollyhock (Alcea rosea) with schizocarpic fruit. holl - schiz

 
cotton in fruit A cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) capsule with and without comose seeds cotton fruit 2

  An exception, the baccate or berry-like fruit of local species Malvaviscus arboreus

More information on the Malvaceae


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