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Calyx 5-fidus, Petala obovato-spathulata. Stamina 5, petalis opposita, monadelpha. Ovarium brevissime stipitatum aut sessile, 5-loculare; loculis superposite 2-ovulatis: style 5, basi connati. Capsula membranacea, pyramidato-pentagona, secus angulos acutatos loculicide 5-valvis. Embryo rectus.
MELOCHIA, Linn. Gen. 829 (excl. spec.).Jacq. Hort.
Vindob. t. 30. Gærtn. Fr. t. 113. Cav. Diss. 6. t. 172. f. 1. DC. Prodr.
I. p. 490. Endl. Gen. 5337.
MELOCHIÆ Sp., St. Hil. Fl. Bras. 1. p. 156
CALYX five-cleft, persistent; the segments valvate in æstivation. PETALS 5, hypogynous, alternate with the segments of the calyx, oblong-obovate or spatulate, very obtuse, erect-spreading, convolute in æstivation, deciduous. STAMENS 5, opposite the petals and shorter than they, hypogynous: FILAMENTS filiform or subulate, monadelphous at the base into a short tube which is connate with the claws of the petals opposite the filaments, and often bears five alternate interposed teeth or small lobes which represent a series of abortive filaments: ANTHERS oblong, extrorse, two-celled; the cells parallel, obtuse at both ends, opening longitudinally for their whole length. POLLEN globular, smooth. OVARY sessile or nearly so, of five united pistils, 5-celled; the cells placed opposite the petals, two-ovuled: STYLES 5, united below, introrsely stigmatose at the summit. OVULES two in each cell, inserted one above the other on the inner angle, amphitropous, ascending, the micropyle inferior.
CAPSULE membranaceous, often pyramidal, five-angled with the salient angles compressed or produced, five-celled, loculicidally dehiscent through the projecting angles; the dissepiments borne on the middle of the valves, and tardily separating from the filiform axis. SEEDS 2, of by abortion solitary, in each cell, obovate, ascending, amphitropous or partly anatropous, not incurved; the testa smooth and crustaceous. EMBRYO straight in the axis of the fleshy albumen, and nearly of its length: COTYLEDONS broad and foliaceous, round-reniform, plane: the RADICLE terete, inferior.
SHRUBS, or sometimes herbs, the pubescence, if any, stellular; with alternate and ovate or oblong serrate leaves, on distinct petioles, and small stipules. Peduncles terminal or opposite the leaves, bearing an umbellate fascicle small flowers. Corolla violet, purple or white.
ETYMOLOGY. A name of uncertain origin, thought by Linnæus to hve come, by the accidental change of a letter, from μολοχη, an ancient name of some Mallow-plant.
GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION A genus of tropical American plants, as now restricted; one widely diffused species, however, extends northward into Texas, beyond lat. 30°.
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