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Genus Malva Family Malvaceae

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)
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Epicalyx segments fused at base, ovate to lanceolate2
Epicalyx segments free, linear4
2Epicalyx segments exceeding the calyx; biennial, woody at the baseMalva arborea
Epicalyx not exceeding the calyx; coarse herbaceous annuals, biennials or perennials
                       Back to 1
3Corolla 20 mm long or longerMalva preissiana
Corolla less than 18 mm long
                       Back to 2
Malva pseudolavatera
4Corolla more than twice as long as calyx; hairs simple or forked5
Corolla c. as long as calyx; hairs stellate or forked
                       Back to 1
5Petals more than 15 mm longMalva sylvestris
Petals less than 15 mm long
                       Back to 4
6Epicalyx segments ovate, attached near middle of calyx; petals bluish lilacMalva nicaeensis
Epicalyx segments linear, attached near base of calyx; petals white, pale pink to pinkish lilac
                       Back to 5
Malva neglecta
7Flowers more or less sessile; biennial or perennial plant; calyx expanded in fruitMalva verticillata
Flowers mostly on peduncles more than 3 mm long; annual plant; calyx more or less enclosing fruit (occasionally slightly expanded)
                       Back to 4
Malva parviflora

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