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Lavatera maritima fg01.JPG
Lavatera maritima
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Malvales
Family: Malvaceae
Subfamily: Malvoideae
Tribe: Malveae
Genus: Lavatera

About 25, see text

  • Anthema Medic.
  • Axolopha Alef.
  • Navaea Webb & Berth
  • Olbia Medic.
  • Saviniona Webb & Berth.
  • Steegia Steud.
  • Stegia DC.

Lavatera[1] is a genus of about 25 species of flowering plants in the family Malvaceae, native to Macaronesia, North Africa, Europe, central and southwestern Asia, Ethiopia, North America (California and Mexico) and Australia, with a centre of distribution in the Mediterranean region. A number of species are naturalized in North America and elsewhere.

All 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.

Name etymology[edit]

This genus is named after the Lavater brothers, 17th century Swiss physicians and naturalists.[2]

Selected species[edit]


  1. ^ Synonymy of Lavatera at Malvaceae Info
  2. ^ Jepson eFlora LAVATERA Website accessed on 17 February 2014

External links[edit]