Sunday, 12 October 2008

New web page

Paradombeya Notes, covering two species of dombeyoid plants from China and SE Asia.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Intergeneric hybrids in Malvaceae

I've put together a page outlining what I know about intergeneric hybrids in Malvaceae.

October comment thread

For general comments and questions related to Malvaceae from anyone.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Alcea pallida

Over the years I've attempted to grow from seed various hollyhocks, including Alcea pallida, other than forms of the common Alcea rosea, but generally without success in keeping the plants until they reached flowering size. (I have a plant of "kurdica" currently flowering.)

However, yesterday, in a garden centre I came across a few plants labelled as Alcea pallida. (As they looked nearly dead I didn't buy any.) The flowers are quite distinct from Alcea rosea; they are markedly smaller, and the petals are narrow (non-overlapping) and distinctly bilobed.


August comment thread

For general comments and questions related to Malvaceae from anyone.

Friday, 9 May 2008

May comment thread

For general comments and questions related to Malvaceae from anyone.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Propagation - seed sowing

What with the cool spring I've been rather tardy in sowing seed this year, but I've got round to sowing 15 batches of Eumalvas.

1) Malva australiana, of a strain originally collected in New South Wales
2) Malva australiana, of a strain originally collected in Western Australia, or at least sold by a West Australian seed company.
3) Malva pusilla, of a strain originally collected in Champaign, Illinois
4) Malva parviflora, of a strain originally collected in Victoria, Australia
5) Malva nicaeensis
6) Malva nicaeensis (a pale flowered form)
7) Malva sylvestris Hinsley 53 [1] x linnaei Davis s.n. (strain Brythone)
8) Malva sylvestris Hinsley 53 [1] x linnaei Davis s.n. (strain P/1)
9) Malva arborea [3] 'Variegata' x australiana
10) Malva arborea 'Variegata' x durieui
11) Malva arborea 'Variegata' x linnaei Davis s.n. (strain P/3)
12) Malva arborea Davis s.n. [2] x sylvestris Hinsley 60 [4]
13) Malva sylvestris 'Mystic Merlin' x durieui
14) Malva sylvestris 'Mystic Merlin' x durieui
15) Malva sylvestris 'Mystic Merlin' x durieui

Numbers 7-9 and 13-15 are old batches of seed from which hybrid plants have been successfully raised in past years. Numbers 9-12 are seed from last year's attempts to produce hybrids and may turn out to be just Malva arborea - while Malva arborea is not mechanically self-compatible in the way the small-flowered speciesa are, previous attempts to produce hybrids using this as the seed parent have produced Malva arborea.

[1] Hinsley 53 was a small-flowered, nearly male-sterile, selection of Malva sylvestris 'Mystic Merlin'.
[2] collected in Cornwall
[3] better known as Lavatera arborea
[4] Hinsley 60 is a hybrid between a wild-collection (Hinsley 3), and a cultivated form thought to be 'Bibor Felho'.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

April Comment Thread

For general comments and questions related to Malvaceae from anyone.

Monday, 24 March 2008

New images in gallery

I've added images from Wikimedia Commons of Ceiba pentandra, Grewia crenata, Grewia tenax, Heritiera littorialis and Talipariti tiliaceum. See recent changes.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Sterculia images

I've picked up a few public domain/GFLD/Creative Commons images from WikiMedia Commons for the Sterculia Gallery.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008


Another plant from Fullerton Arboretum. I'd place it as a cultivar of Hibicus rosa-sinensis, possibly (note the toothed petal apices) with some Hibiscus schizopetalus in its ancestry, but perhaps there's a Hibiscus expert that knows better.



Monday, 10 March 2008

Malviflora of Angola

When I collated data on the Malviflora of South Africa a while back I wasn't able to find much information of the flora of Angola. Since then I found a copy of W.P. Hiern's Catalog of Welwitsch's African Plants at Internet Archive. Over the weekend I've extracted the data from there, and integrated it into the Malviflora of South Africa pages.

This doubled the number of species in Angola per my records. While the list may well still be incomplete it is comparable in size with that for other South African countries, so it should at least be a reasonable representation of the diversity.

Google Search was used to evaluate the names used by Hiern for current validity. It turns out that Aluka has a considerable amount of data on the synonymies of African Plants (from the Floras of West Tropical and East Tropical Africa). It looks as if I'll have to dig into this someday and update my nomenclatural databases. The Flora of East Tropical Africa also has extralimital ranges, so I may be able to identify further Angolan species from there.

Sidalcea review

I've been round the garden and allotment to check which of my Sidalceas have survived the winter (though it's more a case of which weren't mortally injured by last summer's floods.

Most of the losses have been of forms of Sidalcea candida and Sidalcea oregana. I've lost completely 'Bianca', 'Rosanna', and 'Rosy Gem', and the majority of plants of 'Party Girl' and 'Purpetta' and lines of candida (ex Ness Botanic Gardens seed list) and oregana (ex RHS seed list). Apart from these, one speciment of 'Oberon' is looking unhappy, and my only specimen of 'Little Princess' is not yet showing any growth.

Plants which has survived include 'Elsie Heugh' (4 plants), 'Rosebud' (2), 'Mrs. Borrodaile' (4), 'Wine Red' (2), 'William Smith' (2), 'Rosaly, 'Sussex Beauty' (2), 'Candy Girl' (2) and an identified variety (mislabelled 'Elsie Heugh' when bought) (44).

Of 40 self-sown seedlings of 'Rosebud' which were transplanted to 13cm pots 39 survived; I also have another 25 in smaller pots. Due to the ill effects of last summer's flooding there was less seed production, but I can still see some seedlings coming up near the parent plants.

If also have seedlings of 'Brilliant' (self-down), 'Jimmy Whittet', 'Mrs. Borrodaile' and 'William Smith' from last year.

Dombeya macrantha

I've been asked to identify another plant, photographed at the Fullerton Arboretum in California.

It has a trimerous laciniate epicalyx, 5 narrow sepals with a stellate indumentum, 5 red petals spirally arranged in a cup-shaped corolla, pentadelphous stamens placed antepetalously, and a gynoecium somewhat obscured by the androecium. The foliage is hairy, and bronzed when young. Obviously not a mallow except in the broadest sense.

Once I had convinced myself it was a dombeyoid I cheated and looked in the collections database on the Fullerton Arboretum website, comparing the 5 species of Dombeya held (it clearly wasn't either of the other two dombeyoids - Pentapetes phoenicea and Trochetiopsis ebenus - held by the institution). It turns out to be Dombeya macrantha, known by the Germans as Madagaskar Linde.

The photographs are - foliage, side view of part open flower, oblique view of flower, front view of flower, young leaves, side view of opening flower

Saturday, 1 March 2008

March Comment Thread

For general comments and questions related to Malvaceae from anyone.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Herrisantia crispa?

I've just received an email with a request for identification, of a couple of photographs of a plant from Key Largo.

It's not a species that I immediately recognise, but it's something in Abutilinae, and on first thought I suspected an Abutilon of some description. However after a little digging around the US malviflora I now suspect Herissantia crispa. Can anyone confirm or correct?

Update: Professor Fryxell confirms that it is Herissantia crispa.

First picture - assorted fruits and leaves

Second picture - a lonely flower

Sunday, 24 February 2008

February Comment Thread

For general comments and questions related to Malvaceae from anyone.

February Frosts

In the middle of February there were a few nights with hard, penetrating, frost (5-8 degrees Celsius of frost). I won't know for a while how much damage has been done, but a few plants from my collection are looking unhappy - a Lavatera × clementii 'Candy Floss' (which may be the tenderest of the common cultivars), one (of several) Alcalthaea × suffrutescens 'Park Rondell', some small Malva dendromorpha (Lavatera arborea) seedlings, and an Abutilon 'Kentish Belle'.

Some Malva 'Bicolor' and Malva 'Princesse de Lignes' looked sick for a few days, but have recovered.

Over at the allotment I think that the cold spell saw off a few more "Eumalvas".


For some years I have been presenting and extending a web site on the Malvaceae or Mallow Family, a family of flowering plants, firstly at space provided by my ISP, and subsequently at the domain The scope of that site is the Malvaceae sensu APG, that is not only mallows, abutilons, cottons and hibiscuses, but also the great majority of plants formerly classified in Bombacaceae, Sterculiaceae and Tiliaceae.

This blog is created for publishing material that is of too ephemeral a nature to fit comfortably within the structure of the web site, and for communication with the readers of the website.