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Involucellum polyphyllum. Ovarium 5-loculare, loculis pluriovulatis: stigmata 5, capitata. Capsula 5-loculare, calyce (non longitudinaliter fisso) stipata, loculicide 5-valvis; loculis oligo-polyspermis.
HIBISCUS, Linn. Gen. 846 (excl. spec.). Gærtn.
Fr. 2. p. 250. t. 134. DC. Prodr. 1. p 446 (excl. sect. plur.). Adr. Juss. in
St. Hil. Fl. Bras. 1. p. 242. Endl. Gen. 5277.
KETMIA, Tourn., Adans.
CALYX involucellate with numerous (usually ten or more) subulate or filiform persistent bracts, five-cleft, not spathaceous and deciduous after flowering; the segments valvate in æstivation. PETALS 5, obovate, usually spreading, convolute in æstivation, their claws united with the base of the stamineal column. STAMENS indefinite, monadelphous; the column usually elongated or filiform, five-toothed at the naked apex, hypogynous; the FILAMENTS emitted from the greater part of its length: ANTHERS reniform, two-valved. OVARIES 5, combined into a five-celled compound ovary, the cells opposite the sepals: STYLES united into one nearly to the apex, there five-cleft: STIGMAS 5, depressed-capitate (rarely connate), commonly hispid. OVULES several or numerous from the inner angle of each cell, horizontal or ascending, anatropous or nearly so.
FRUIT a five-celled CAPSULE, stipate by or included in the persistent calyx, loculicidally five-valved; the valves alternate with the sepals, bearing the dissepiments on their middle, leaving no, or scarcely any central axis. SEEDS numerous, or by abortion few in each cell, horizontal, or when few ascending, obovate or globular; the testa crustaceous, smooth, squamulose, or hairy. EMBYRO arcuate in mucilaginous or fleshy albumen: COTYLEDONS foliaceous, cordate, plaited and chrysaloid-infolded: RADICLE centripetal or inferior.
HERBS, or often shrubs of trees, with alternate lobed or undivided leaves, and axillary peduncles which are usually articulated towards the apex and bear single large and showy flowers. Stipules often deciduous.
ETYMOLOGY. Ιβισκοσ, an ancient name of the Marsh Mallow, applied by Linnæus to an allied genus.
GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION. A genus of a considerable number of species, the greater part tropical or subtropical. Eight or ten species are indigenous to the warmer regions of the United States; one of which extends north along the coast to New England, and another to Ohio and Pennsylvania.
PROPERTIES &c. Several are highly ornamental in cultivation. All have the tough bark and the mucilaginous qualities of the order.
NOTE. The Okra (H. esculentus, Linn.), so well known as a demulcent and for its culinary uses, and H. Manihot, Linn., belong to the genus ABELMOSCHUS, Medik., characterised by its tubular spathaceous calyx, which splits down one side, and is, with the involucel, deciduous. Of this no indigenous representatives are known in the United States, except Hibiscus Collinsianus, Nutt. (if that be distinct from A. esculentus), of which I have not specimen for illustration.
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