Description: Annual, biennial or perennial herbs, with creeping, ascending or erect stems.
Leaves palmately veined, 5–7-lobed, margins crenate; petiole long, slender; stipules ovate.
Flowers axillary, solitary or clustered, often forming an irregular raceme. Epicalyx segments 3, free, inserted towards base of calyx. Calyx 5-lobed, united at base. Petals emarginate. Carpels 8–12, each 1-ovulate.
Fruit a disc-shaped schizocarp, indehiscent.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 40 species, Africa, Europe, Asia, northern temperate America. Australia: at least 5 species (naturalized), all States.
The collection from the Central Coast in the 1960's is from the saleyards at Flemmington and therefore introduced.
Text by A. S. Mitchell & E. H. Norris; Key Updated L. Murray (Aug 2018)
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Epicalyx segments fused at base, ovate to lanceolate||2|
|Epicalyx segments free, linear||4|
|2||Epicalyx segments exceeding the calyx; biennial, woody at the base||Malva arborea|
|Epicalyx not exceeding the calyx; coarse herbaceous annuals, biennials or perennials|
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|3||Corolla 20 mm long or longer||Malva preissiana|
|Corolla less than 18 mm long|
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|4||Corolla more than twice as long as calyx; hairs simple or forked||5|
|Corolla c. as long as calyx; hairs stellate or forked|
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|5||Petals more than 15 mm long||Malva sylvestris|
|Petals less than 15 mm long|
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|6||Epicalyx segments ovate, attached near middle of calyx; petals bluish lilac||Malva nicaeensis|
|Epicalyx segments linear, attached near base of calyx; petals white, pale pink to pinkish lilac|
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|7||Flowers more or less sessile; biennial or perennial plant; calyx expanded in fruit||Malva verticillata|
|Flowers mostly on peduncles more than 3 mm long; annual plant; calyx more or less enclosing fruit (occasionally slightly expanded)|
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