Spermatophyta: Dicotyledonae: Archichlamydeae

Malvaceae - Hibiscus family

Exell, A.W. (1961) Malvaceae FZ 1(2)

Description of the family

Herbs, shrubs or trees, usually with stellate hairs. Stipules present. Leaves alternate, often palmately divided. Flowers bisexual (rarely unisexual [in ours?]), actinomorphic. Epicalyx usually present, sometimes 0. Calyx (3-)5-lobed, truncate or occasionally 5- to 10-toothed. Petals 5, free. Stamens numerous, united in a tube surrounding the style. Anthers 1-thecous. Ovary superior, (1-)2-many-locular. Style often branched at apex. Fruit (in ours) either a dehiscent capsule or a schizocarp (composed of a number of mericarps arranged around a central axis).

Comment:  According to the most recent taxonomic research by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG-III), Malvaceae sensu lato now includes Bombacaceae, Tiliaceae and Sterculiaceae, three families traditionally considered closely related and in this system still treated as separate families. In this new concept Malvaceae would consist of the following nine subfamilies:

Byttnerioideae (formerly part of Sterculiaceae, including Hermannia, Melochia and Waltheria)
Grewioideae (formerly part of Tiliaceae including all our regional genera)
Sterculioideae (formerly part of Sterculiaceae, including Cola and Sterculia)
Tilioideae (formerly part of Tiliaceae Not in our region)
Dombeyoideae (formerly part of Sterculiaceae, including Dombeya and Melhania)
Brownlowioideae (formerly part of Tiliaceae Not in our region)
Helicteroideae (formerly part of Sterculiaceae, including Triplochiton)
Malvoideae (formerly Malvaceae sensu stricto, as used here)
Bombacoideae (formerly Bombacaceae)

However, this circumscription of the Malvaceae is still controversial. The relationships between these subfamilies are still either poorly supported or almost completely obscure, so that the very definition of the family may change dramatically as new studies are published. We therefore prefer to use the old concept and still treat the 4 families separately with the traditional Malvaceae sensu stricto, as listed below, comprising a very homogeneous and cladistically monophyletic group.

Worldwide: 78 genera and 1,670 species, cosmopolitan but especially in the tropics.

Zimbabwe: 13 genera and 95 taxa.

Pavonia urens

More sample images from the Malvaceae (Click on each image to see a larger version and details of the record)

Abutilon angulatum var. angulatum

Abutilon angulatum var. angulatum

Sida cordifolia subsp. maculata

Sida cordifolia subsp. maculata

Hibiscus cannabinus

Hibiscus cannabinus

Hibiscus rhodanthus

Hibiscus rhodanthus

Gossypium hirsutum

Gossypium hirsutum

Links to genera:     View: living plant images - herbarium specimen images - all images for this family

GenusContent
Abelmoschus Medik.Description, Image
Abutilon Mill.Description, Image
Azanza Alef.Description, Image
Cienfuegosia Cav.Description
Gossypium L.Description, Image
Hibiscus L.Description, Image
Kosteletzkya C. PreslDescription, Image
Malva L.Description
Malvastrum A. GrayDescription, Image
Pavonia Cav.Description, Image
Sida L.Description, Image
Urena L.Description, Image
Wissadula Medik.Description, Image

Other sources of information about Malvaceae:

Our websites:

Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Malvaceae
Flora of Mozambique: Malvaceae | cultivated Malvaceae
Flora of Zambia: Malvaceae

External websites:

GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network) taxonomy for plants report for Malvaceae
Google: Web - Images - Scholar


Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-14

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2014). Flora of Zimbabwe: Family page: Malvaceae.
http://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/family.php?family_id=131, retrieved 23 July 2014

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