This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
A prostrate or ascending herb, often rooting from the nodes, with palmately cleft or divided leaves, and small axillary peduncled red to purple flowers. Bracts of the involucre 3, distinct. Calyx 5-cleft. . Stamen-column anther-bearing at the apex. Cavities of the ovary ∞, 2-3-ovuled. Style-branches stigmatic at the summit; carpels 15-20, septate between the seeds, dehiscent into 2 valves with awn-pointed tips, and cristate on the back. [Latin, from the likeness of the fruit to the small Roman measure, modiolus.]
A monotypic genus of warm and temperate America and South Africa.
Malva caroliniana L. Sp. Pl. 688. 1753.
Modiola multifida Moench, Meth. 620. 1791.
Modiola caroliniana G. Don, Gen. Hist. Pl. 1: 466. 1831.
Annual or biennial, more or less pubescent, freely branching; stems slender, 6'-18' long. Leaves nearly orbicular in outline, 1/2'-2 1/2' wide, petioled, pedately 3-5-cleft, the lobes dentate or incised; leaves sometimes simply dentate; flowers axillary, solitary, 3"-5" broad; peduncles at length elongated, slender; petals obovate; fruit depressed-orbicular, the carpels hispid-aristate along the back.
In low grounds, Virginia to Florida, west to Texas, and in Central and South America and the West Indies. The same species apparently occurs in South Africa. Summer.