Family: Malvaceae
Common name: mallow/cotton family [Zomlefer, pp. 90-94]
Diversity: Worldwide: 80 genera; ~1,000 species
U.S.: 27 genera
PNW (Hitchcock & Cronquist): 6 genera
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K3-5 Co5 S P (5-8)
Sexuality: bisexual
Symmetry: actinomorphic
Inflorescence: cyme or solitary
Calyx (sepals): usu. 5, separate or basally connate
Corolla (petals): usu. 5, separate, convolute (=rolled together)
Androecium: numerous, monadelphous (filaments united in a tube and basally joined to corolla), anthers unilocular, large pollen
Gynoecium: 5 or more carpels, united, superior ovary (=hypogynous), branched style, ovules have axile placentation
Fruit: usu.capsule or schizocarp
Other features: epicalyx = whorl of bracts below the calyx
showy flowers with nectar, seeds often covered in fine hair

Vegetative Features
Leaves: alternate, often palmately lobed and palmately veined,
stipulate, usu. stellate hairs (=star-shaped)
Life-history: annual to perennial
Habit: herbs, shrubs, small trees
Distribution & Ecology: cosmopolitan
diversity centered in the American tropics
Some Northwest Genera: Sidalcea checker-mallow
Malva mallow
Iliamna globemallow

Economic Importance
Crops: Gossypium hirsutum cotton
Hibiscus esculentus okra (immature fruit)
Abutilon jute
Ornamentals: Malva mallows
Althaea hollyhock
Weedy and pest species:

Examples Malvaceae Hibiscus
Malvaceae Malva
Malvaceae Spaeralceae
click on the genus name for a flower image

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