Botanical name: Modiola caroliniana Family: Malvaceae (Mallow family)
Synonyms: Malva caroliniana, Modiola prostrata
Carolina Bristle Mallow is an annual or perennial herb native to tropical America and warm temperate eastern North America, and widely naturalised throughout the tropical world. It has prostrate, hairy stems, rooting at the nodes, from which arise upright flowering stems. Leaves are variable, being 5-8 cm long, 2-5 cm wide, triangular to circular, kidney-shaped in overall outline, varying from shallowly toothed, to deeply 3- to 7-palmately lobed, such lobes often themselves pinnately lobed. The 4-5 mm long, ciliate, persistent, stipules are leafy. Orange-red flowers are borne solitarily or rarely in pairs in the leaf axils, on stalks 2-4 cm long. Flowers have 3 free, narrowly lanceshaped false-sepals, borne about 1 mm below the 5 broadly triangular-ovate sepals. Flowers have 5 orange-red obovate petals, often red at the base, each 3-8 mm in length, unnotched and adnate to the base of the stamen column. The stamen column is shorter than the petals, and yellowish in colour. The filaments, numbering 10-20, are borne solely at the tip of the column. The stigmas, borne on filiform style-branches, are head-like. The fruit is a schizocarp composed of roughly 20 black, 2-seeded, kidney-shaped mericarps, borne in a single whorl. They are about 4mm in length. The upper half has smooth lateral faces and a bristly dorsal face, and bears two stout spines; the lower half is hairless, with rugose lateral faces. The seeds are glabrous, minutely pubescent, and about 1.5 mm long.
Identification credit: Krishan Lal
The flower labeled Carolina Bristle Mallow is ...