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Involucellum 23-phyllum, setaceum sæpe deciduum. Stigmata capitellata. Ovula in loculis 23. Fructus subglobosus polycoccus; carpellis unilocellatis, 31-spermis, superne 2-valvibus, tardius inter se solubilibus et ab axi secendtibus. Embryo arcuatus. Radicula infera, vel sem superioris centripeto-supera.
SPHÆRALCEA, St. Hil. & Adr. Juss. in Pl.
Us. Bras. t. 52 and Fl. Bras. 1. p 209. Torr. & Gray, Fl. 1. p. 228. Endl.
PHYMOSIA, Desv. in Hamilt. Prodr. Fl. Ind. Occ. p. 43, ex Endl.
MALVÆ Sect. SPHÆROMA, DC. Prodr. 1. p. 435
SPHÆROMA, Schlecht. in Linnæa, 11. p. 352.
CALYX involucellate with rwo or three usually deciduous subulate or setaceous bracts, five-cleft, persistent; the segments valvate in æstivation, PETALS 5, obovate or obcordate, often oblique, convolute in æstivation, hypogynous, their claws united with the base of the stamineal column. STAMENS indefinite, monadelphous in a simple hypogynous column: FILAMENTS all arising from its summit: ANTHERS reniform. OVARIES 15 to 20, closely united in a ring around a central receptacle, destitute of any internal process or partition: STYLES 15 to 20, united below: STIGMAS capitate. OVULES 2 or 3 in each carpel, peritropous, the upper one ascending, the lower descending.
FRUIT of 15 to 20 compressed carpels, united in a globular ring, truncate at the summit; the carpels compressed, straight, excised at the insertion, often pointed, membranaceous or coriaceous, two-valved at the summit and frequently splitting down the whole length of the dorsal suture, tardily separating from each other and from the central receptacle. SEEDS 2, 3, or by abortion solitary in each carpel; reniform, peritropous. EMBYRO semicircular-incurved in fleshy albumen: COTYLEDONS foliaceous, cordate, plaited in the middle and infolded: RADICLE centripetal-inferior, or in the upper seed centripetal-superior.
HERBS or shrubs, mostly hoary with a stellate pubescence, with alternate and usually lobed or toothed leaves, and axillary flowers. Stipules subulate, deciduous. Corolla vermilion, flesh-colored, or violet.
ETYMOLOGY. Name compounded of σφαιρα, a sphere, and Alcea, an ancient name of Mallow, in allusion to the spherical fruit.
GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION. Natives of the warmer temperate and subtropical regions of America, in both hemispheres; the greater part Mexican. One species extends north to the Arkansas River; another is found farther north in Oregon. None of the are yet known to occur with the geographical limits of this work; but they may be expected in Western Texas.
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