Three-lobed False-Mallow

Malvastrum coromandelianum

Malvastrum coromandelianum, an exotic mallow species from Nairobi, Kenya, photo © by Michael Plagens

Plants about a meter tall growing in a sunny area at Nairobi National Museum grounds, Kenya, Africa. April 2011. Identification was provided by Steven Hill.

SHRUBBY: There are many species of Malvaceae found in Kenya. This one is naturalized from its original home in tropical America. Severak herbaceous stems from a woody lower portion and about a meter tall.

FLOWERS: Yellow. Mallow flowers are easy to recognize. There are five distinct petals and five sepals. Numerous stamens arise from a fleshy column derived from the fuzed filaments.Below the sepals are five, smaller bracts which distinguish this genus from Sida.

LEAVES: Elyptic leaves are sharply serrated along the margins.

RANGE: A native of South and Central America, this weedy plant now has a pantropical distribution. Perhaps its seeds were carried along in the soil with desirable crop plants like cassava and avocado.

FRUIT: The dryish capsule is clearly segmented.

a lycaenid butterfly from Nairobi © Michael Plagens UNARMED. Without spines but the hairs on leaves and stems are course and unpleasant to the touch.

A Pea Blue butterfly was in attendence at the open flowers taking nectar.

Malvaceae -- Mallow Family

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, Created on 2 Sept. 2011, updated 15 February 2014.