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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 6 | Malvaceae

9. Melochia Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 674 [as 774]. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 304. 1754.

Broom-wood [Arabic melóchich, name for Corchorus olitorius Linnaeus, a salad plant in the East] Broom-wood [Arabic melóchich, name for Corchorus olitorius Linnaeus, a salad plant in the East]

Aaron Goldberg

Moluchia Medikus; Physodium C. Presl

Herbs, annual or perennial, subshrubs, or shrubs [trees], erect, spreading, or decumbent, taprooted. Stems unarmed, hairy, hairs usually simple and/or stellate, sometimes also glandular. Leaves petiolate; stipules usually deciduous, linear-lanceolate; blade: margins rarely present; anthers 2-thecate; ovary 5-locular; ovules 2 per locule; styles 5, distinct or basally connate, filiform; stigmas included, decurrent on style, papillose. Fruits capsules, pyramidal and 5-winged, or schizocarps, subglobular and not winged, dehiscence loculicidal, sometimes also septicidal, fruit then falling apart. Seeds 1 or 2 per locule, obovoid, with 2 flat sides and 1 rounded, smooth; endosperm present, fleshy; embryo straight; cotyledon flat. x = 7, 9, 10.

Species ca. 60 (4 in the flora): c, se United States, Mexico, West Indies, Central America, South America, Asia, Africa, Pacific Islands, Australia; tropical and subtropical areas.

SELECTED REFERENCE Goldberg, A. 1967. The genus Melochia L. (Sterculiaceae). Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 34: 191–363.

1 Inflorescences: bracteoles at base of pedicel; fruits pyramidal, 5-winged, 7–14 mm diam   (2)
+ Inflorescences: bracteoles immediately subtending flower; fruits subglobose, not winged, 2.5–6 mm diam   (3)
2 (1) Leaf blades glabrous or glabrate, hairs mostly simple; inflorescences usually leaf-opposed; fruits often purple-blotched.   1 Melochia pyramidata
+ Leaf blades tomentulose and canescent, hairs stellate; inflorescences usually axillary; fruits not purple-blotched.   2 Melochia tomentosa
3 (1) Inflorescences spikelike; petals 8–11 mm; flowers dimorphic (pistil and stamens of unequal lengths varying inversely in different plants); fruits capsules.   3 Melochia villosa
+ Inflorescences terminal and axillary, cymose glomerules; petals 3–6 mm; flowers monomorphic (pistil and stamens of equal lengths); fruits schizocarps.   4 Melochia corchorifolia

Lower Taxa


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Flora of China  
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