Herbs or shrubs (sometimes trees in tropical regions) with alternate mostly palmately-veined leaves. Stipules small, deciduous. Flowers regular, perfect, often large, rarely dioecious or polygamous. Sepals 5 (rarely 3 or 4),more or less united, usually valvate; calyx often bracted at the base. Petals 5, hypogynous, convolute, often contorted. Stamens ∞, hypogynous, monadelphous, forming a central column around the pistil, united with the bases of the petals; anthers I-celled. Ovary several-celled, entire or lobed; styles united below, distinct above, and generally projecting beyond the stamen-column, mostly as many as the cells of the ovary; ovules 1 or several in each cavity. Fruit capsular (rarely a berry), several-celled, the carpels falling away entire or else loculicidally dehiscent. Seeds reniform, globose or obovoid; embryo curved; cotyledons large, plicate or condu-plicate; endosperm little, or copious.

About 45 genera and 900 species, widely distributed in tropical and temperate regions. Stamen-column anther-bearing at the summit; carpels in a circle around a central axis.

Carpels 1-seeded.

Flowers perfect.

Involucels of 6-9 bractlets.

1.

Althaea.

Involucels of 1-3 bractlets, or none.

Stigmas linear, on the inner side of the style-branches.

Carpels beakless; petals obcordate.

2.

Malva.

Carpels beaked; petals truncate.

3.

Callirrhoë.

Stigmas capitate, terminal.

Seed ascending.

5.

Malvastrum.

Seed pendulous.

6.

Sida.

Flowers dioecious.

4.

Napaea.

Carpels 2-several-seeded.

Involucels none.

7.

Abutilon.

Involucels of 3 bractlets.

Carpels continuous.

8.

Phymosia.

Carpels septate between the seeds.

9.

Modiola.

Stamen-column anther-bearing below the entire or 5-toothed summit; fruit a loculicidal capsule.

Carpels 1-seeded.

10.

Kosteletzkya.

Carpels several-seeded.

11.

Hibiscus.