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Involucellum 3-phyllum, persistens. Petala obcordata. Stylus intus longitudinaliter stigmatosi. Fructus polycoccus; carpellis cochleato-reniformibus muticus, monospermis, in orbem dispositis, indehiscentibus, ab axi centrali secunditibus. Semen reniforme loculum implens. Embryo subannularis: radicula centripeto-infera. Flores nunquam flavi.
MALVA, Tourn. (excl. spec.). Gray, Pl. Fendl. in Mem.
Amer. Acad. (n. ser.) 4. p. 16.
MALVÆ Sp., Linn. Gen. 841. Lam. Ill. t. 582. Gærtn. Fr. t. 136. Cav. Diss. 2 & 5. DC. Prodr. 1. p. 430. Adr. Juss. in St. Hil. Fl. Bras. 1. p. 213. Torr. & Gray, Fl. N. Am. 1. p. 225 (no. 1, 2). Endl. Gen. 5271.
CALYX involucellate with three (rarely two) distinct and persistent bracts, forming an outer calyx, five-cleft, herbaceous, the segments valvate in æstivation, persistent. PETALS 5, alternate with the segments of the calyx, obcordate or somewhat two-lobed, spreading, convolute in æstivation, hypogynous; their thickened and dilated claws adnate to the base of the stamineal column, twisted together after anthesis, at length deciduous. STAMENS indefinite, hypogynous, monadelphous in a tubular simple column, the dilated base of which incloses the ovaries, and is connected with the claws of the petals, and from the summit of which the short FILAMENTS singly become free: ANTHERS reniform, one-celled (at first two-celled by the partition whuch normally divides the cavity of the anther-cell), opening by a continuous line around the convex side so as to become two-valved. POLLEN globose, the whole surface hispid. OVARIES 9 to 20, united in a circle around a central receptacle: STYLES as many as the ovaries, filiform, united below, their distinct portion stigmatose (minutely hispid) for the whole length of the inner face. OVULE solitary in each carpel, amphitropous, peritropous-ascending; the micropyle inferior.
FRUIT circular, depressed , consisting of a ring of round-reniform or cochleate and compressed-wedge-shaped crustaceous or coriaceous entirely beakless carpels, which cohere until ripe by plane faces, and at length fall away from each other  and from the conspicuous central axis (receptacle), indehiscent, or rarely bursting irregularly at the ventral sinus. SEED reniform, campylotropous, conformed to the cell, which it completely fills; the testa crustaceous, smooth. EMBRYO incurved into an incomplete ring around the scanty soft or mucilaginous albumen: COTYLEDONS broad and foliaceous, somewhat infolded: RADICLE centripetal-inferior.
HERB (of the Old World) with rounded and often palmate petiolate and stipulate leaves. Flowers axillary, usually fascicled; the corolla white, rose-color, purple, never yellow. Peduncles articulated near the apex.
ETYMOLOGY. An ancient Latin name, said to come from μαλαχη, soft, in allusion to the emollient properties of the Mallow.
PROPERTIES. The herbage is mucilaginous. Some species are popularly employed as demulcents, especially M. sylvestris; but they are inferior to the Marsh Mallow (Althaea officinalis).
GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION. The genus Malva, as here restricted, is indigenous to the Old World alone; M. rotundifolia, although so common, being doubtless an introduced plant in the United States, as in M. borealis in California and New Mexico. It is here illustrated for the purpose of constrasting its characters with Callirhoë, &c.
 In Malva sylvestris the carpels often separate from the axis as a unit.
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