Here identifying characteristics of Malvaceae family along with essential figures and one suitable example:
(i) Plant: Plant body with stellate hairs (star-shaped). Usually shrub and tender part of the plant contains a lubricating substance called mucilage
(ii) Leaf: Simple and free lateral stipules are present.
(iii) Calyx: 5 sepals, united, epicalyx present 5-8 in number
(iv) Androecium: Stamens- numerous, monadelphous, staminal tube present around the style. Androecium has numerous stamens with its filaments grouped into a staminal column, called a monodelphous condition.
(v) Anther: One celled and kidney-shaped
(vi) Pollen grain: Large and spins
(vii) Placentation: Axile
(viii) Fruit: Berry or schizocarp. The fruit is a capsule or schizocarp, usually separating at maturity into one to several 1-seeded segments.
(ix) Flower: Flowers often are subtended by an epicalyx of distinct or connate bracts.
(x) Economic genera: Gossypium (cotton), Abutilon, Hibiscus esculentus (okra), Althaea (hollyhock).
Example- Hibiscus rosa-Sinensis.
- Habit: The plant is generally herbs (Abutilon, Malva, Urena), shrubs (Hibiscus, Gossypium), and a few trees (Gossypium arboreum) with a mucilaginous sap in all parts. Usually, young parts of the plants are covered with stellate hairs.
- Root: Tap, root, branched.
- Leaves: Alternate, petiolate, stipulate, stipules deciduous (Malva), simple, entire or palmately divided or lobed, margin wavy or serrate, apex acute, multicostate reticulate venation.
Flower: Pedicellate, bracteate, bracteolate in the form of epicalyx, hermaphrodite rarely unisexual (Napaea), complete, actinomorphic, pentamerous, hypogynous.
Calyx: Sepals five, connate at the base, persistent, sometimes forming a tube (Urena), valvate aestivation.
Corolla: Petals 5, polypetalous sometimes slightly connate at the base with the staminal tube-thus epipetalous, large showy, twisted. Prominent veins can be observed on the petals.
Fruit: Schizocarpic carcerulus (Abutilon, Malva, Sida), capsule (Hibiscus, Gossypium), berry (Malvaviscus).
Seed: Non-endospermic, in some genera seed coat, is densely tomentose (Gossypium).
Pollination: Entomophilous. Insects are attracted to nectar, showy nature of corolla and protandrous flowers.