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Archive for October 29th, 2013

Why is velvetleaf mallow called velvetleaf mallow?

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Velvetleaf Mallow Leaf Underside 9814

Why is Allowissadula holosericea called velvetleaf mallow? Because it’s a mallow whose leaves really do feel like velvet. Here’s a closeup of a square inch or so of a leaf’s underside. It’s all those little hairs that create the feeling of softness when touched.

The made-up species name holosericea means ‘all silky,’ but I wouldn’t describe the feel of one of these leaves as silky (even if velvet can be made from silk). Maybe whoever coined the term couldn’t find a Greek or Latin word for ‘velvety.’

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 29, 2013 at 5:59 AM

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