Last updated

Alcea setosa.jpg
Alcea setosa
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Clade: Malvids
Order: Malvales
Juss. ex Bercht. & J.Presl [1]

The Malvales are an order of flowering plants. As circumscribed by APG II-system, the order includes about 6000 species within 9 families. The order is placed in the eurosids II, which are part of the eudicots.


The plants are mostly shrubs and trees; most of its families have a cosmopolitan distribution in the tropics and subtropics, with limited expansion into temperate regions. An interesting distribution occurs in Madagascar, where three endemic families of Malvales (Sphaerosepalaceae, Sarcolaenaceae and Diegodendraceae) occur.

Many species of Malvaceae sensu lato are known for their wood, with that of Ochroma (balsa) being known for its lightness, and that of Tilia (lime, linden, or basswood) as a popular wood for carving. Fruit of the cacao tree ( Theobroma cacao ) are used as an ingredient for chocolate. Kola nuts (genus Cola ) are notable for their high content of caffeine and, in past, were commonly used for preparing of various cola drinks. Other well-known members of Malvales in the APG II sense are daphnes, hibiscus, hollyhocks, okra, jute, baobab trees, cotton, kapok, and durian.


Hibiscus moscheutos 2006 08 10 Hollyhock.JPG
Hibiscus moscheutos

The morphology of Malvales is diverse, with few common characteristics. Among those most commonly encountered are palmate leaves, connate sepals, and a specific structure and chemical composition of the seeds. The cortex is often fibrous, built of soft phloem layers.


Early classifications such as that of Dahlgren placed the Malvales in the superorder Malviflorae (also called Malvanae). Family boundaries and circumscriptions of the "core" Malvales families, Malvaceae, Bombacaceae, Tiliaceae, and Sterculiaceae, have long been problematic. A close relationship among these families, and particularly Malvaceae and Bombacaceae, has generally been recognized, although until recently most classification systems have maintained them as separate families. With numerous molecular phylogenies showing Sterculiaceae, Bombacaceae, and Tiliaceae as traditionally defined are either paraphyletic or polyphyletic, a consensus has been emerging for a trend to expand Malvaceae to include these three families. This expanded circumscription of Malvaceae has been recognized in the most recent version of the Thorne system, by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, and in the most recent comprehensive treatment of vascular plant families and genera, the Kubitzki system. [3]

The dominant family in the APG II-system is the extended Malvaceae (Malvaceae sensu lato) with over 4000 species, followed by Thymelaeaceae with 750 species. This expanded circumscription of Malvaceae is taken to include the families Bombacaceae, Sterculiaceae and Tiliaceae. Under the older Cronquist system the order contained these four "core Malvales" families plus the Elaeocarpaceae and was placed among the Dilleniidae. Some of the currently included families were placed by Cronquist in the Violales.

Related Research Articles

Malvaceae Family of flowering plants

Malvaceae, or the mallows, is a family of flowering plants estimated to contain 244 genera with 4225 known species. Well-known members of economic importance include okra, cotton, cacao and durian. There are also some genera containing familiar ornamentals, such as Alcea (hollyhock), Malva (mallow) and Lavatera, as well as Tilia. The largest genera in terms of number of species include Hibiscus, Sterculia, Dombeya, Pavonia and Sida.

Bombacaceae Family of flowering plants

Bombacaceae were long recognised as a family of flowering plants or Angiospermae. The family name was based on the type genus Bombax. As is true for many botanical names, circumscription and status of the taxon has varied with taxonomic point of view, and currently the preference is to transfer most of the erstwhile family Bombacaceae to the subfamily Bombacoideae within the family Malvaceae in the order Malvales. The rest of the family were transferred to other taxa, notably the new family Durionaceae. Irrespective of current taxonomic status, many of the species originally included in the Bombacaceae are of considerable ecological, historical, horticultural, and economic importance, such as balsa, kapok, baobab and durian.

Violales Order of eudicot flowering plants

Violales is a botanical name of an order of flowering plants and takes its name from the included family Violaceae and proposed by Lindley (1853). The name has been used in several systems, although some systems used the name Parietales for similar groupings. In the 1981 version of the influential Cronquist system, order Violales was placed in subclass Dilleniidae with a circumscription consisting of the families listed below. Some classifications such as that of Dahlgren placed the Violales in the superorder Violiflorae.

Hemerocallidoideae Subfamily of flowering plants

Hemerocallidoideae is the a subfamily of flowering plants, part of the family Asphodelaceae sensu lato in the monocot order Asparagales according to the APG system of 2016. Earlier classification systems treated the group as a separate family, the Hemerocallidaceae. The name is derived from the generic name of the type genus, Hemerocallis. The largest genera in the group are Dianella, Hemerocallis (15), and Caesia (11).

Asphodelaceae Family of flowering plants in the order Asparagales

Asphodelaceae is a family of flowering plants in the order Asparagales. Such a family has been recognized by most taxonomists, but the circumscription has varied widely. In its current circumscription in the APG IV system, it includes about 40 genera and 900 known species. The type genus is Asphodelus.

Tiliaceae is a family of flowering plants. It is not a part of the APG, APG II and APG III classifications, being sunk in Malvaceae as a modified Tilioideae but has an extensive historical record of use.

Sterculiaceae was a family of flowering plant based on the genus Sterculia. Genera formerly included in Sterculiaceae are now placed in the family Malvaceae, in the subfamilies: Byttnerioideae, Dombeyoideae, Helicteroideae and Sterculioideae.

The Kubitzki system is a system of plant taxonomy devised by Klaus Kubitzki, and is the product of an ongoing survey of vascular plants, entitled The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants, and extending to 15 volumes in 2018. The survey, in the form of an encyclopedia, is important as a comprehensive, multivolume treatment of the vascular plants, with keys to and descriptions of all families and genera, mostly by specialists in those groups. The Kubitzki system served as the basis for classification in Mabberley's Plant-Book, a dictionary of the vascular plants. Mabberley states, in his Introduction on page xi of the 2008 edition, that the Kubitzki system "has remained the standard to which other literature is compared".

Columniferae Group of flowering plants

Columniferae is a descriptive botanical name. The Wettstein system used this name for an order of flowering plants, with the following circumscription:

Tilioideae Subfamily of flowering plants

Tilioideae is a flowering plant subfamily in the family Malvaceae, though it was formerly considered a large group, placed at family rank and called Tiliaceae.

Malvoideae Subfamily of flowering plants

Malvoideae is a botanical name at the rank of subfamily, which includes in the minimum the genus Malva. It was first used by Burnett in 1835, but was not much used until recently, where, within the framework of the APG System, which unites the families Malvaceae, Bombacaceae, Sterculiaceae and Tiliaceae of the Cronquist system, the aggregate family Malvaceae is divided into 9 subfamilies, including Malvoideae. The Malvoideae of Kubitzki and Bayer includes 4 tribes:-

Sensu is a Latin word meaning "in the sense of". It is used in a number of fields including biology, geology, linguistics, semiotics, and law. Commonly it refers to how strictly or loosely an expression is used in describing any particular concept, but it also appears in expressions that indicate the convention or context of the usage.

Eudema is a genus of flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae from South America. It contains six species, including Eudema nubigena.

Caryophyllales Order of flowering plants

Caryophyllales is a diverse and heterogeneous order of flowering plants that includes the cacti, carnations, amaranths, ice plants, beets, and many carnivorous plants. Many members are succulent, having fleshy stems or leaves. The betalain pigments are unique in plants of this order and occur in all its families with the exception of Caryophyllaceae and Molluginaceae.

Durioneae is a tribe within the subfamily Helicteroideae of the plant family Malvaceae s.l. The tribe contains at least five genera, including Durio, the genus of tree species that produce Durian fruits.

Septotheca is a genus of trees in the family Malvaceae. It contains a single species Septotheca tessmannii, native to Peru, Colombia and Brazil.

<i>Plagianthus</i> Genus of flowering plants in the mallow family Malvaceae

Plagianthus is a genus of flowering plants confined to New Zealand and the Chatham Islands. The familial placement of the genus was controversial for many years, but modern genetic studies show it definitely belongs in the Malvaceae subfamily Malvoideae. The name means "slanted flowers".

Krapovickasia is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family Malvaceae, disjunctly distributed in Mexico, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina. Perennial herbs, they have yellowish to peach or faded rose colored flowers.

Bastardiastrum is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family Malvaceae and is native to Mexico. They are shrubs or subshrubs with viscid stems.

<i>Corynabutilon</i> Genus of Malvaceae plants

Corynabutilon is a genus of flowering plants in the family Malvaceae, native to southern Chile and Argentina. They are shrubs or small trees.


  1. Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2009). "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 161 (2): 105–121. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x .
  2. Nickrent, Daniel L. "Cytinaceae are sister to Muntingiaceae (Malvales)", Taxon 56 (4): 1129-1135 (2007) (abstract)
  3. Bayer, C. and K. Kubitzki. 2003. Malvaceae, pp. 225–311. In K. Kubitzki (ed.), The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants, vol. 5, Malvales, Capparales and non-betalain Caryophyllales.