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×Malvalthaea transcaucasica (Sosn.) Iljin is a hybrid between Malva aegyptia and Althaea hirsuta. which occurs naturally in Transcaucasia and northern Iran. As the annual marshmallows, including Althaea hirsuta, are more closely related to the true mallows, particularly annual mallows such as Malva aegyptia and Malva cretica, they should be placed in the same genus, and ×Malvalthaea transcaucasica would no longer be classified as an inter-generic hybrid. Unfortunately it is not clear what genus is should be - Malva, Lavatera or Dinacrusa (see my page on the Malva alliance for more discussion) - so it is not possible to just revert to the original name for the taxon - Malva transcaucasica Sosn.

Riedl, in Flora Iranica1, describes two other inter-generic hybrids between annual species of Malva and Althaea - ×Malvalthaea palmata I.Riedl and ×Malvalthaea heterophylla I.Riedl. These have the same parentage, and are treated are synonymous with ×Malvalthaea transcaucasica2.

×Malvalthaea transcaucasica (Sosn.) Iljin is a plant with the general appearance of Althaea hirsuta, but which agrees with Malva in having 3 unfused bracteoles. (Althaea hirsuta has 6 or more, fused, bracteoles). It is a small plant, growing to no more than 1 foot in height.

×Malvalthaea heterophylla I. Riedl is similar, but has 4-7 bracteoles, has less divided leaves, grows to 2½ ft in height, and is biennial.

×Malvalthaea palmata I. Riedl is similar. It has 3, toothed, bracteoles, 3-lobed leaves, and grows to 1½ ft in height.


  1. I. Riedl, Malvaceae, in Rechinger, Flora Iranica 120: 8-10 (1976)
  2. Gerald Krebs, personal communication (2003)

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