Spermatophyta: Dicotyledonae: Archichlamydeae: Malvales

Malvaceae - Hibiscus family

Exell, A.W. (1961) Malvaceae Flora Zambesiaca 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: 10 cultivated genera and 18 cultivated taxa.

No image of a cultivated species but there is an image of a native or naturalised species

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

Abelmoschus Medik.Description
Abutilon Mill.Description
Alcea L.Description
Azanza Alef.Description
Gossypium L.Description, Image
Hibiscus L.Description
Lagunaria (DC.) Rchb.Description, Image
Malva L.Description, Image
Malvaviscus Fabr.Description, Image
Thespesia Sol. ex CorrêaDescription

Other sources of information about Malvaceae:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Malvaceae
Flora of Caprivi: Malvaceae
Flora of Malawi: Malvaceae
Flora of Mozambique: Malvaceae
Flora of Mozambique: cultivated Malvaceae
Flora of Zambia: Malvaceae
Flora of Zimbabwe: Malvaceae

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Malvaceae
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network) taxonomy for plants report for Malvaceae
Wikipedia: Malvaceae

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-20

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2020). Flora of Zimbabwe: Cultivated plants: Family page: Malvaceae.
https://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/cult/family.php?family_id=131, retrieved 25 January 2020

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