Chase, Mark W. Molecular Systematics Section, Jodrell Laboratory, Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, Surrey, United Kingdom.
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An order of flowering plants in the core eudicots. The order Malvales consists of 10 families and approximately 6000 species. The circumscription of the order has been altered greatly in recent years, largely on the basis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequence data. Of the five families in the traditional concept, namely, Malvaceae, Bombacaceae, Sterculiaceae, Tiliaceae, and Elaeocarpaceae, the first four have been combined as Malvaceae as a result of the lack of monophyly of three of these families in their traditional circumscription, whereas the family Elaeocarpaceae has been reassigned to the order Oxalidales. In addition, other families have been transferred to Malvales, including Dipterocarpaceae and Thymelaeaceae. The expanded order is characterized by the presence of mucilage in epidermal cells and cavities. Furthermore, palmate leaves, stellate hairs, and numerous stamens with partially fused filaments occur frequently. See also: Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA); Eudicotyledons; Magnoliophyta; Magnoliopsida; Oxalidales
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