Modiola Moench
Methodus 619 (1794)

Name Status: Current
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Scientific Description
S. Hamilton-Brown, Thursday 8 September 2016

Common name. Mallows. Family Malvaceae.

Tribe Malveae.

Habit and leaf form. Herbs (prostrate herbs rooting at base, covered with stellate and/or simple hairs). Plants unarmed. Annual, or perennial; to 0.25 m high; tuberous. Mesophytic. Not heterophyllous. Leaves small to medium-sized; alternate; spiral; petiolate; non-sheathing; simple. Leaf blades dorsiventral; dissected (3–7-lobed); ovate; palmately veined; cordate (or truncate). Mature leaf blades adaxially pubescent; abaxially pubescent. Leaves with stipules. Stipules persistent. Leaf blade margins crenate, or serrate. Leaf anatomy. Hairs present; complex hairs present. Complex hairs stellate. Extra-floral nectaries absent.

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite. Unisexual flowers absent. Plants hermaphrodite. Entomophilous.

Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers solitary; axillary; pedicellate; medium-sized; regular; 5 merous; tetracyclic. Hypogynous disk absent. Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 10; 2 -whorled; isomerous. Calyx present; 5; 1 -whorled; gamosepalous; lobed; lobulate (5-lobed); hairy; valvate; exceeded by the corolla; regular; persistent. Calyx lobes triangular. Epicalyx present (of free bracteoles). Corolla present; 5; 1 -whorled; polypetalous (adnate to the base of the staminal column); contorted; orange, or red (red or orange-red). Androecium present. Androecial members indefinite in number. Androecium 50–100 (i.e. ‘many’). Androecial members adnate; all equal; coherent (connate; the filaments fused in a column surrounding the style); 1 - adelphous (the tube attached to the petals); 1 -whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens (or rather, half-stamens, each having only a half anther). Stamens 50–100. Anthers dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; unilocular. Gynoecium 20 carpelled. The pistil 20 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synstylovarious to eu-syncarpous; superior. Ovary plurilocular; c. 20 locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1; more than 4-branched (20-branched, i.e. as many as the carpels); apical. Stigmas 20 (coherent at the base); capitate. Placentation axile. Ovules 2 per locule, or 3 per locule.

Fruit and seed features. Fruit 7–9 mm long; non-fleshy; dehiscent; a capsule. Capsules loculicidal (discoid, dehiscing into 3 valves, each carpel with 2 awned valves at the apex, transversly septate between seeds). Dispersal unit the seed. Seeds 2 per locule.

Geography, cytology, number of species. World distribution: South America. Adventive. Australian states and territories: Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, and Tasmania. A genus of 1 species; 1 species in Western Australia; 0 endemic to Western Australia.

Etymology. From the Latin for "the nave of a wheel"; refers to the shape of the fruit.

Taxonomic Literature

  • Wheeler, Judy; Marchant, Neville; Lewington, Margaret; Graham, Lorraine (2002). Flora of the south west, Bunbury, Augusta, Denmark. Volume 2, dicotyledons. Australian Biological Resources Study. Canberra.
  • Grieve, B. J.; Blackall, W. E. (1998). How to know Western Australian wildflowers : a key to the flora of the extratropical regions of Western Australia. Part II, Dicotyledons (Amaranthaceae to Lythraceae). University of W.A. Press. Nedlands, W.A.