The Lavatera Pages :
Lavatera phoenicea

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Lavatera phoenicea Vent.

Lavatera phoenicea Vent.
German Purpurrote Strauchmalve

The Canary Islands have 3 native Lavateras, two of which are endemic. The non-endemic species is the Smaller Tree Mallow, L. cretica. (The Tree Mallow, L.arborea, is naturalised in the Canary Islands.) One of the endemic species, L. acerifolia, is related to the Tree Mallows.

The other endemic species, L. phoenicea Vent., is not closely related to any other Lavatera. It is a shrub growing to 2.5m height. The leaves are glabrous. They are palmately lobed (narrower than in L. acerifolia) and irregularly toothed. The flowers are salmon-pink flowers. They are borne in pedunculate clusters of 3 to 5 in the leaf axils. The bracteoles are ovate, with obtuse apices, and are shorter than the sepals. The sepals are lanceolate and ovate. The petals are oblanceolate. The fruits are verticillate schizocarps, with ca. 30-40 elongated reniform mericarps, more than in any other Lavatera, with 2 apical spines4.

Synonyms: Synonyms for L. phoenicea are L. coccinea Dietr. ex DC and Navaea phoenicea Webb.


  1. Baker, Synopsis of Genera and Species of Malveæ, in Journal of Botany Vol. XXVIII (1890)
  2. Augustin Pyrame de Candolle, Prodromus Systematis Naturalis Regni Vegetabilis Part 1. (1824)
  3. David & Zoë Bramwell, Wild Flowers of the Canary Islands
  4. Gerald Krebs, personal communication


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© 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 Stewart Robert Hinsley