About 25, see text
Lavatera is a genus of about 25 species of flowering plants in the family Malvaceae, native to the Mediterranean region, central and eastern Asia, North America (California and Mexico) and Australia. A number of species are naturalized in North America.
Many species previously placed in Lavatera have now been transferred to the related genus Malva. Lavatera species are known as tree mallows, or rather ambiguously as rose mallows, royal mallows or annual mallows.
The genus includes annual, biennial and perennial herbaceous plants and soft-wooded shrubs, growing from 1–3 m tall. The leaves are spirally arranged, and palmately lobed. The flowers are conspicuous, 4–12 cm diameter, with five white, pink or red petals; they are produced in terminal clusters.
Lavatera species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Bucculatrix lavaterella, which feeds exclusively on these plants. Flowers and seeds of several species are also used as food by humans.
- Malva — genus some Lavatera species were reclassified into.
- Malvaceae Info: The Lavatera pages
- Germplasm Resources Information Network: Lavatera
- Flora Europaea: Lavatera
- Virginia Tech page showing distribution in North America
- Jepson Manual showing detailed California distribution
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