Family: Malvaceae

mallow or hibiscus family

The mallow family in New England are primarily herbaceous perennials, though some woody species do occur. The leaves are simple (though often lobed), grow alternately along the stem, and have veins radiating outward from the base of the leaf. The leaves (and other parts of the plant) are sometimes hairy with branched hairs. There is a stipule on the stem underneath each leaf. The flowers are actinomorphic (radially symmetrical), showy, and have both pollen-bearing and ovule-bearing parts. There are 5 sepals and 5 petals. The sepals are separate or fused together at the base and sometimes alternate with sepal-like bracts that make up an epicalyx. The petals are usually unfused and have wavy, wrinkled edges. Both attach below the ovary (i.e., the ovary is superior). There are many stamens whose filaments are usually fused together into a tube, and 1 ovary comprised of 2 or more carpels. The style is usually branched, with as many branches as there are carpels. The fruit is usully a schizocarp that splits into segments at maturity or a capsule. One genus has a small, dryish drupe for a fruit. Species formerly placed in the Tiliaceae are not included here in the Malvaceae.

This Family’s Genera in New England:

Visit this family in the Dichotomous Key