PLANTS: Trailing, ascending, or erect herbs, glabrous or pubescent. LEAVES: long-petiolate, orbicular or reniform, more or less 5-7-lobed. FLOWERS: solitary or fasciculate in the leafaxils, sometimes aggregated terminally; bracts of involucel (2-)3; calyx 5-lobed, often accrescent; petals purple (or white), often apically notched; styles filiform, the stigmatic zone along one side of styles. FRUITS: schizocarpic, oblate, pubescent or glabrous; mericarps indehiscent, semi-circular, often more or less reticulate dorsally. SEEDS: solitary. NOTES: Ca. 40 spp. from Eur., Afr., and the Middle East. (altered from Greek malache = soft). Dalby, D. H. 1968. Flora Europaea 2:249-251. REFERENCES: Fryxell, Paul A. 1994. Malvaceae. J. Ariz. - Nev. Acad. Sci. Volume 27(2), 222-236.
Bractlets of the epicalyx 3, linear to obovate; stamen-column bearing anthers at the summit; pet truncate to (in our spp.) obcordate; carpels 10-20, beakless, one-seeded, indehiscent, the sides incompletely covering the seed; styles slender, stigmatic along the inner side; annual to perennial herbs with broad, toothed to lobed or parted lvs, the fls solitary or fascicled in the axils. 25, temp. Eurasia.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.