Annual herbs or subshrubs. Leaf blades triangular, rhomboid or suborbicular, lobed or unlobed. Inflorescence usually a scorpioid cyme. Epicalyx present, of (2-)3 bracts, usually filiform. Calyx accrescent, stipitate stellate pubescent, the stipe purplish. Corolla purple, blue or rarely white, petals sometimes biauriculate at base, occasionally equalling or shorter then the calyx. Staminal tube included, filamentiferous at apex, anthers few (5-20). Styles 6-13, stigmas capitate. Fruits schizocarpic, indehiscent or ventrally dehiscent. Mericarps 6-13, usually apically aristate, sometimes only apiculate, covered with dense often stipulate stellate hairs, 1-seeded, seed glabrous. Endoglossum absent
Fuertesimalva (Malvaceae): Calyx enclosing. Corolla shorter then to slightly longer then calyx, without basal auricles. Mericarps indehiscent, horseshoe-shaped, with irregular transverse ridges. Endoglossum small, present or absent.
Malva (Malvaceae): Flowers solitary or in fascicles in leaf axils. Epicalyx with 3 distinct, subulate or foliaceous lobes. Petals emarginate or with a prominent apical notch. Styles with an introrsely decurrent, stigmatic surface. Fruits oblate. Mericarps 8-15, pubescent or glabrous, dorsally more or less reticulate.
Malvastrum (Malvaceae): Flowers axillary, solitary or in terminal spikes or racemes. Epicalyx 3, filiform or spatulate bracts. Corolla yellow or orange, rarely with a red centre. Fruits oblate. Mericarps (5)8-18, horseshoe-shaped with a prominent ventral notch, sometimes 2-3 cuspidate.
Sphaeralcea (Malvaceae): Inflorescence paniculate, racemose or solitary in the leaf axils. Corolla yellow, orange, rose, purple or rarely white. Fruits oblate or truncate-conic. Mericarps (7)10-16(-20), apiculate or rounded apically, usually differentiated into 2 cells, the lower cell reticulate and indehiscent, the upper smooth and apically dehiscent; seeds 1-3 per mericarp, more or less shortly pubescent.
Principally Andean apart from two species which occur in Mexico.
Status in Neotropics (Native, Cultivated, Naturalised, Endemic): Native and endemic to central and south America.
Mainly Andean quite high altitude, or Central Mexico at high altitude (above 2200m).
Krapovickas (1954) synonymizes many species of the genus Malva L. (1753) and Malvastrum A. Gray (1849) under Tarasa