Description from Flora of China
Herbs or shrubs. Leaves long petiolate; leaf blade deeply cordate, palmately 5-7-lobed. Flowers solitary, fascicled, or arranged in terminal racemes. Epicalyx lobes 3-6, connate basally. Calyx campanulate, 5-lobed. Corolla various colored, rarely yellow; petals 5, base clawed, apex emarginate or truncate. Filament tube with anthers near apex. Ovary 7-25-loculed; ovules 1 per locule, erect; style branches as many as locules; stigmas decurrent, filiform. Fruit a flattened-globose schizocarp, persistent style base swollen, conical or disk-shaped; mericarps 7-25, semicircular-wedge-shaped, lateral margins rounded, sides smooth or reticulate, abaxially smooth, glabrous or ± pubescent. Seeds reniform, glabrous, free from mericarp wall.
See the comments after Malva on the relationship of these two genera. Records of Lavatera trimestris Linnaeus from the Flora area were based on plants cultivated in Beijing. It is an annual with ovate stipules and a glabrous filament tube.
About 25 species: America, Asia, Australia, Europe; one species in China.