Complete information on the characteristics of the family Malvaceae


Malvaceae is a dicotyledonous family comprising about 82 genera and 1500 species, distributed almost throughout the world and particularly abundant in trpics. In India, there are 22 genera and about 110 species.

Floral Characters of the Family Malvaceae:

Infloroscence – Both racemose and cymose types. In Althea Rosea it is a racemose raceme, in Hibiscus rosasinesis it is both axillary, solitary and terminal solitary.



Bracteate, bracteolate, varying in number from 3 to many from a conspicuous calyx-like structure known as epicalyx, pedicellate. The flower is actinomorphic, bisexual and hypogynous pentamerous.


There is a whorl of epicalyx at base of the flower. Sometimes the epicalyx is absent. Example.Abutilon. the number of epicalyx varies from 5 to 7.



Number of sepals is gamosepalaous, tubular or rotate valvate aestivation.


Nos. of petals 5, polypetalous often large and showy, twisted. In the basal part, petals are adnate to the base of the terminal tube and thus give a false appearance of being gamopetalous.


Androecium- Stamens are numerous, and lower part of the filaments is united to form a tube around the ovary and the style known as stamina tube. The stigma project out of the apical opening of the staminal tube. The anthers are free; dorsifixed, kidney-shaped, monothecous dehisces by longitudinal slit. In Sida there are only 5 stamens in antipetalous position.

Gynoecium- 5carpels, syncarpous, style long slender, stigma pentaloid or lessor globose, ovary 5 chambered, placentation axile, ovules usually many or single, ovary superior.


Endospermic embryo curved.


Name of two plants with economic importance:

(i) Hibiscus sabdariffa– fleshy calyx and leaves are edible.

(ii) Gossypium arboretum– It yields fibre.

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