Mallow (Family Malvaceae)
Malvaceae, or the Mallow Family, is a family of flowering plants
containing over 200 genera with close to 2,300 species. Well known
members of this family include okra, jute and cacao. The largest
genera in terms of number of species include Hibiscus (300 species),
Sterculia (250 species), Dombeya (225 species), Pavonia (200 spe-
cies) and Sida (200 species). Recent changes with family Malvaceae
has broadened its scope to include the traditional family Bombac-
aceae and much of the traditional Sterculiaceae and Tiliaceae, to-
gether with a little material on related families in the order Malvales.
The traditional family Malvaceae consisted of the mallows, cotton,
abutilons, hibiscuses and related plants; the extended family Malv-
aceae now also contains baobabs, balsa, kapok, kola, cacao, jute,
limes (lindens), durians and a wide variety of other plants.
Members of family Malvaceae can be found widely dispersed
throughout tropical and temperate regions of the Northern and
The use of members of the family Malvaceae as sources of fibre,
food and beverages, medicines, timber, and in horticulture (garden-
ing), together with information on hazards (toxins, allergens and
irritants) associated with members of the family and on their occur-
rence as weed or invasive species.
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