Abelmoschus Medik.
Malvenfam. 45 (1787)

Name Status: Current
Browse to the list of specimens for Abelmoschus Medik.

Scientific Description
S. Hamilton-Brown, Thursday 8 September 2016

Common name. Native Rosellas. Family Malvaceae.

Tribe Hisbisceae.

Habit and leaf form. Shrubs, or herbs (often prickly hairy). Plants unarmed. Annual, or perennial; to 0.2–4 m high. Mesophytic. Not heterophyllous. Leaves small to medium-sized; alternate; spiral; petiolate; non-sheathing; simple. Leaf blades dorsiventral; usually dissected (3–7-lobed), or entire; ovate, or obovate, or triangular; palmately lobed; more or less palmately veined; cordate, or hastate, or sagittate. Mature leaf blades adaxially pubescent, or glabrous (sometimes); abaxially pubescent, or glabrous (sometimes). Leaves with stipules (stipules linear or filiform). Stipules caducous, or persistent. Leaf blade margins entire, or crenate, or serrate, or dentate. 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, or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; axillary; in racemes. Inflorescences terminal. Flowers pedicellate (pedicels inarticulate); small to large; somewhat irregular. The floral asymmetry involving the perianth. Flowers 5 merous. Hypogynous disk absent. Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 10; 2 -whorled; isomerous. Calyx present (spathe-like); 5; 1 -whorled; gamosepalous (connate towards the base, splitting almost to the base on one side during expansion of the corolla); lobed; lobulate (shortly 5-lobed); hairy, or glabrous; valvate; exceeded by the corolla; unequal but not bilabiate; not persistent (adnate to and falling with the corolla). Calyx lobes triangular. Epicalyx present (free, or occasionally shortly connate, and persistent bracteoles). Corolla present; 5; 1 -whorled; polypetalous (adnate to the base of the staminal column); contorted; regular; hairy abaxially; glabrous adaxially; with contrasting markings (usually with a different colour base); white, or yellow, or pink, or purple (or lavender); deciduous. Petals obovate. 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 5 carpelled. The pistil 5 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synstylovarious to eu-syncarpous; superior. Ovary plurilocular; 5 locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1; more than 4-branched (distally 5-branched, connate towards the base); apical. Stigmas 5 (sessile cushion-like stigmas). Placentation axile. Ovules 30–50 per locule (i.e. ‘many’).

Fruit and seed features. Fruit 20–50 mm long; non-fleshy; hairy; dehiscent; a capsule (ellipsoid to ovoid, usually beaked or mucronate). Capsules loculicidal (by 5-valves). Dispersal unit the seed. Fruit 30–50 seeded (i.e. ‘many’). Seeds not compressed (reniform in outline); conspicuously hairy (often with concentric rings of papillae), or not conspicuously hairy.

Geography, cytology, number of species. World distribution: south and south-east Asia and northern Australia. Native of Australia. Not endemic to Australia. Australian states and territories: Western Australia, Northern Territory, and Queensland. Northern Botanical Province. A genus of 6 species; 2 species in Western Australia; 0 endemic to Western Australia.

Etymology. From the Arabic for "father of musk", referring to the musk scented seeds.