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tree mallow

Habit Herbs, biennial or perennial, or subshrubs, 1–3 m, stellate-tomentose.

erect, base usually woody.


stipules deciduous, ovate, 4–5 × 2–3 mm, papery, apex acute to obtuse, sparsely stellate-hairy and ciliate;

petiole longer than blade;

blade rounded, shallowly and unequally 5–7(–9)-lobed (lobes obtuse), 5–20 × 5–20 cm, base cordate, margins crenate, apex obtuse to rounded, surfaces densely soft stellate-hairy especially abaxially.


axillary, flowers in fascicles.


jointed distally, 0.5–1 cm, not much longer in fruit;

involucellar bractlets connate in proximal 1/3, adnate to calyx, lobes broadly ovate to round, 8 × 5–6 mm, longer than calyx, margins entire, apex acute or obtuse, surfaces stellate-hairy.


calyx 3–4 mm, not much enlarged in fruit, densely stellate-canescent;

petals rose to lavender with 5 darker veins, dark purple basally, 15–20 mm, length 4–5 times calyx, apex emarginate;

staminal column 8–10 mm, glabrous proximally, stellate-hairy distally;

anthers purplish;

style (6–)8(or 9)-branched;

stigmas (6–)8(or 9).


dark brown, 3 mm.


8–10 mm diam.;

mericarps (6–)8(or 9), 4–5 mm, margins sharp-angled, apical surface and sides ridged, surfaces glabrous or hairy.


= 36, 40, 42, 44.

Malva arborea

Phenology Flowering Apr–May(–Sep).
Habitat Disturbed areas, coastal bluffs, dunes
Elevation 0–200 m (0–700 ft)
from FNA
CA; OR; Europe; Pacific Islands (New Zealand); Australia [Introduced in North America; introduced also in Mexico (Baja California), Africa (Libya), Atlantic Islands (Canary Islands)]
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Malva arborea is infrequently cultivated as a garden ornamental. It is traditionally placed in Lavatera and has three prominent, spreading, rounded, earlike involucellar bractlets and inconspicuous sepals.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Source FNA vol. 6, p. 288.
Parent taxa Malvaceae > subfam. Malvoideae > Malva
Sibling taxa
M. alcea, M. assurgentiflora, M. moschata, M. neglecta, M. nicaeensis, M. parviflora, M. pseudolavatera, M. pusilla, M. sylvestris, M. verticillata
Synonyms Lavatera arborea
Name authority (Linnaeus) Webb & Berthelot: Hist. Nat. Îles Canaries 3(2,1): 30. (1836)
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