Electronic Flora of South Australia
Electronic Flora of South Australia
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Electronic Flora of South Australia genus Fact Sheet

Family: Malvaceae

Citation: L., Sp. Pl. 690 (1753).

Derivation: After Lavater, a physician and naturalist from Zürich.

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: None

Erect herbaceous perennials or shrubs with stellate 1- to several-armed hairs; leaves long-petiolate, lobed, toothed.

Flowers bisexual, pedunculate, in axillary clusters or solitary, showy; epicalyx of 3 segments more or less united at the base; sepals fused into a tube with 5 broad-triangular lobes; petals 5, much longer than the sepals, emarginate, pink, purple or white; staminal tube with many anthers at the apex; carpels 6-16 in a single whorl; stigmas linear, along the inner face of the filiform style branches; ovule 1 in each carpel.

Fruit a discoid schizocarp, the mericarps arranged around and separating from a persistent conical or dilated central column, 1-seeded, indehiscent.

Distribution:  About 25 species in the Northern Hemisphere and 1 native to Australia. (W. R. Barker (1977) The species of Malva L. and Lavatera L. (Malvaceae) naturalised in S.Aust. J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. 1:107-114).

Biology: No text

Taxonomic notes: Mericarp length is measured along the margin which was adjacent to the column in the schizocarp.

Key to Species:
1. Epicalyx segments exceeding the calyx, enlarging after flowering
L. arborea 1.
1. Epicalyx segments shorter than the calyx, not enlarged after flowering
2. Calyx tubular-campanulate, 10-18 mm long; peduncles 2-6 cm long, spreading for most part, distally abruptly erect; mericarps 5-7 mm long
L. assurgentiflora 2.
2. Calyx broad-campanulate, 5-9 rarely 10 mm long; peduncles 0.5-2.5 rarely 5 cm long, spreading and sometimes distally ascending; mericarps 2-3.5 mm long
3. Indumentum stellate-velutinous, on the calyx the arms of the hairs 0.5-1.5 mm long; calyx tube enlarging but not exceeding the schizocarp, the lobes incurved, appressed on the schizocarp; mericarps 8-10, ?rarely 7 or 11, with the upper surface convex with margins rounded to sharp, crenulate
L. cretica 3.
3. Indumentum stellate-pubescent, on the calyx the arms of the hairs 0.1-0.3 rarely 0.5 mm long; calyx tube strongly enlarging after flowering, exceeding and incurved over the schizocarp, the lobes spreading outwards; mericarps 9-16 usually 10-14, the upper surface concave to flat rarely slightly convex, with margins very sharp or slightly winged, entire or crenate to dentate
L. plebeia 4.

Author: Prepared by W. R. Barker

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