Lavatera

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Lavatera

 

(tree mallow), a genus of herbs, shrubs, and, less commonly, trees of the family Malvaceae. The leaves are deeply lobed. The flowers, which are on pedicels, are solitary, axial, or in terminal racemose or spicate inflorescences. The epicalyx consists of several bractlets that are concresced at the base. The corolla is pink, purple, or, less commonly, yellow. The fruits, which are small, monospermous, and indehiscent, are arranged in a regular circle.

There are about 25 species, distributed mainly in the Mediterranean region. The USSR has three species. L. thuringiaca has large pink flowers in a loose raceme; it is found in the southern part of the forest zone, in the forest-steppe zone, in the steppe zone, and—less commonly—in the mountains. L. trimestris, an annual reaching 100 cm in height, has large (up to 6 cm across) pink (of various shades) or white flowers. Certain shrubby and arborescent forms are cultivated in greenhouses.