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Herbs or shrubs, with alternate stipulate leaves and regular flowers, the calyx valvate and the corolla convolute in the bud, numerous stamens monadelphous in a column, 1-celled anthers, and kidney-shaped seeds. — Sepals 5, united at the base, persistent, often involucellate with a whorl of bractlets outside, forming a sort of exterior calyx. Petals 5, cohering by their short claws with the tube of filaments. Anthers kidney-shaped, opening at the top. Pistils several, with the ovaries united in a ring or forming a several-celled pod. Seeds with little albumen: embryo curved, the leafy cotyledons variously doubled up. — Mucilaginous plants, with tough bark, and palmately-veined leaves. Flower-stalks with a joint.

      * Calyx naked (no involucel): carpels separable in the fruit
1. ABUTILON. Pods each 3–6-seeded, not falling away when ripe.
2. SIDA. Pods 1-seeded, separating, Flowers perfect.
3. NAPÆA. Pods 1-seeded, separating, Flowers diœcious.
      * * Calyx involucellate at the base
         † Carpels numerous, separating whole when ripe, 1-seeded.
4. MALVA. Involucel of 3 bractlets.
5. ALTHÆA. Involucel of 6-9 bractlets.
         †† Carpels permanently united into 3–5-celled loculicidal pod.
6. HIBISCUS. Involucel of many bractlets. Pod few–many-seeded.

1. ABUTILON, Tourn. [1]      INDIAN MALLOW

Calyx naked at the base. Styles 5-15. Pods 5-15, remaining coherent so as to form a sort of compound capsule, spreading at the summit, where each splits open along the inner edge. Seeds about 3 in each carpel. — Flowers in the axils of the heart-shaped leaves. (Name of unknown origin.)

1. A. avicennæ, Gærtn. (VELVET-LEAF.) Leaves roundish-heart-shaped, taper-pointed, velvety; peduncles shorter than the leaf-stalks; corolla yellow; pods 12-15, hairy, beaked, the beaks splitting in two.— Escaped from gardens, naturalised. Aug. — Plant about 4° high.

2. SIDA, L.      SIDA

Calyx naked at the base. Styles 5 or more: the ripe fruit separating into as many 1-seeded pods, each splitting open at the top. Radicle pointing upwards. Stigmas terminal, minutely capitate. — Flowers perfect. (A name used by Theophrastus)

1. S. spinosa, L. Annual, low, branched from the base; leaves ovate-oblong, abrupt at the base, serrate; stipules bristle-form; flower-stalks axillary, shorter than the petioles; fruit separating into five 2-beaked pods, opening between the beaks. — Waste placed, from S. New York southwestward. — A homely weed, with small yellow flowers. A little tubercule at the base of the leaves on the stronger plants gives the specific name, but it cannot be called spiny.

2. S. napæa [2], the Napæa laevis, L., well known in gardens, which was first raised by Hermann at Leyden from seeds said to have come from Virginia, is not known to grow wild in the Northern States, and I doubt if it really belongs to this countary at all.

3. NAPÆA, Clayt. [1]      GLADE MALLOW

Calyx naked at the base, 5-toothed. Flowers diœcious; the staminate flowers entirely destitute of pistils; the fertile with a short column of filaments but no anthers. Styles mostly 8, distinct almost to the base, stigmatic along the inside. Fruit depressed-globular, separating when ripe into as many 1-seeded pods as styles. Radicle pointing downwards.—A tall and roughish perennial herb, with very 9–11-parted lower leaves, the pointed lobes pinnatifid-cut and toothed, and small white flowers in panicled clustered corymbs. (Named by Clayton from ναπη, a wooded valley, or mountain glade, or poetically, the nymph of the groves, alluding to the place where he discovered the plant.)

1. N. dioica, L. (Sida dioica, Cav.).—Limestone valleys, Penn., southward to Augusta Co., in the Valley of Virginia, where Clayton discovered it, west to Ohio and Illinois; rate. July.—Root leaves 1°-2° broad.

4. MALVA, L.      MALLOW

Calyx with a 3-leaved involucel at the base, like an outer calyx. Styles numerous. Fruit depressed, separating at maturity into as many 1-seeded and usually indehiscent kidney-shaped little pods as their are styles. Radicle pointing downwards. — Flowers perfect. (An old Latin name, from Μαλαχη, alluding to the emollient leaves.)

1. M. rotundifolia, L. (DWARF MALLOW.) Stems prostrate or spreading from a deep root; leaves rounded-hearted shaped, obtusely 5-lobed, crenate, long-petioled; flowers solitary, axillary; petals notched at the end, twice the length of the calyx. — Around dwellings everywhere, introduced, troublesome. — Corolla small, whitish, with purple veins.

2. M. sylvestris, L. (HIGH MALLOW.) Stems erect; leaves rather sharply 5-7-lobed; flowers axillary, 3-4 together; petals inversely heart-shaped, thrice the length of the calyx (rose-purple). — Waste places, escaped from gardens, partially naturalised.

3. M. triangulata, Leavenworth [3]. Roughish-hairy; stems nearly erect; leaves deltoid-triangular, crenate, pointed, the lowest mostly heart-shaped at the base, the upper variously 3-5-lobed or cut; flowers numerous in a loose terminal panicle, on short pedicels; petals wedge-obovate (purple); involucel as long as the downy (not bristly) short calyx. (Nuttallia cordifolia, Nutt. N. cordata Lindl. Malva Houghtonii, Torr. & Gr.) — Dry prairies, &c., from Wisconsin southward. July. — Stems 2° high: flowers 1½' broad.

M. crispa, the CURLED MALLOW, and M. moschata, the MUSK MALLOW, are occasionally spontaneous around gardens.


Calyx surrounded by a 6–7-cleft involucel. Otherwise as in Malva. (Name from Αλθω, to cure.)

1. A. officinalis, L. (COMMON MARSH MALLOW.) Stem erect; leaves ovate, or slightly heart-shaped, toothed, sometimes 3-lobed, clothed with velvety down; peduncles axillary, many flowered, much shorter than the leaves. — Salt marshes, naturalised in New England and New York. Aug., Sept. — Flowers pale rose-color. Root thick, abounding in mucilage, the basis of the Pates de Guimauve.

A. rosea, and A. ficifolia [4], are the garden HOLLYHOCKS.


Calyx involucellate at the base by a row of numerous bractlets. Styles united: stigmas 5, capitate. Anther-bearing column prolonged. Fruit a 5-celled many–few seeded pod, opening into 5 valvce which bear the partition on their middle (loculicidal). Herbs or shrubs, usually with large and showy flowers. (An old Greek and Latin name of unknon meaning.)

§ 1. KOSTELETZKYA, Presl. [5]Cells of the depressed pod 1-seeded..

1. H. Virginicus, L. Roughish-hairy; leaves ovate and taper-pointed, heart-shaped, unequally toothed, the lower 3-lobed; pod bristly. — Marshes on the coast, New York southward. Aug. — Stem 2° - 4° high. Corolla 2' wide, purple-rose-color.

§ 2. HIBISCUS proper [6]. — Cells of the pod many-seeded: calyx and many leaved involucel persistent.

2. H. Moscheutos, L. (SWAMP ROSE-MALLOW.) Leaves ovate, pointed, toothed, the lower 3-lobed, whitened with a fine soft down underneath; the 1-flowered peduncles often united at the base with the petioles; calyx not inflated; seeds smooth. Borders of marshes along and near the coast. Salt springs, Salina, New York. Aug., Sept. — Plant stout, 5° high. Corolla 5' in diameter, pale rose-purple, or which with a crimson eye, showing in cultivation.

3. H. militaris, Cav. (HALBERT-LEAVED MALLOW.) Smooth throughout; lower leaves ovate-heart-shaped, toothed, 3-lobed; upper leaves halbert-form, the short lateral lobes spreading at the base, the middle one prolonged and tape-pointed; peduncles slender; fruiting calyx inflated; seeds hairy. — River-banks, Penn. to Ohio. Aug. — As tall as, but more slender and smaller-flowered, than the last: corolla pale rose-color.

4. H. Trionum, L. (BLADDER KETMIA.) Somewhat hairy; upper leaves deeply 3-parted, with lanceolate divisions, the middle one much the longest; fruiting calyx inflated, membranaceous, with bristly ribs, 5-winged at the summit; seeds rough. — Escaped from gardens, but scarcely naturalised. Corolla pale greenish-yellow with a purple eye, ephemeral; hence the name Flower-of-an-hour.

H. syriacus, the Shrubby Althæa of the old gardeners, is cultivated about houses.

H. esculentus (the OKRA), belonging to the section ABELMOSCHUS, Medic. (in which the leaves of the involucel are deciduous, and the membranaceous inflated calyx splits open on one side), is common in gardens, especially southward.

[1] Publications prior to the 1753 edition of Linnaeus's Species Plantarum as not considered for the purpose of ascertaining priority in botanical nomenclature; consequently the accepted authors for Abutilon and Napaea are Miller and Linnaeus, rather than Tournefort and Clayton.
[2] Correctly known as Sida hermaphrodita Rusby
[3] Malva triangulata Leavenworth is now placed in Callirhoe.
[4] It is now more usual to reduce A. ficifolia to A. rosea, and to place them in the additional genus Alcea.
[5] Section Kosteletzkya is now granted generic rank, and H. virginicus renamed Kosteletzkya virginica.
[6] H. moscheutos and H. militaris are now placed in section Muenchusia, and H. trionum in section Trionum; H. syriacus remains in section Hibiscus.

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