A large family, widely distributed; mostly herbs, with mucilaginous juice and tough, fibrous bark; leaves alternate, mostly palmately-veined and lobed, with stipules; flowers regular, perfect, or the stamens and pistils on different plants; sepals five, often with an outer row of bracts below, resembling another calyx; petals five, their bases or claws united with each other and with the base of the stamen-tube; stamens numerous, united by their filaments into a column, forming a tube enclosing the pistils; fruit a capsule, breaking when ripe into several one-seeded parts, or splitting down the back of the valves, allowing the seeds to escape. The little fruits are commonly called "cheeses." True Mallows are introduced "weeds" in this country.