Malviflora of East and North East Asia

Malvaceae Info
Biogeography of Malvaceae


The regions considered here consist of China (including Taiwan), Japan (including the Ryukyu and Bonin Islands), Mongolia, Korea (including Cheju-Do and Ulnung-Do), and the Russian Far East, here defined as the Tuva, Buryatia and Sakha (Yakutia) Republics, the Irkutsk, Chita, Amur, Sakhalin and Magadan Oblasts, and the Primorsky, Khabarovsk, and Kamchatka Krays, and including the Kuriles and Commander Islands. These regions are considered together as North East Asia has a depauperate malviflora, with a total of 10 species in Mongolia and the Russian Far East combined, and with the Buryatia and Sakha Republics, the Chita, Sakhalin and Magadan Oblasts, and the Kamchatka Kray lacking mallows altogether.


East Asia is composed of China, Taiwan, Japan (including the Ryukyi and Bonin Islands), Mongolia and Korea. There are online floras for China [1], Taiwan [2] and Japan [3], and checklists for Korea [4], and for Mongolia, the Russian Far East, northern Korea, north eastern China, and Hokkaido [5]. A checklist of the vascular plants [6] of Taiwan has also been used.

Composition of Flora

Most of East and North East Asia lies in the Palaeoarctic, but the southern fringe has an Oriental (or Indo-Malayan) flora.

East and North East Asia has a relatively sparse malviflora, compared to regions such as Australia or southern Africa, with a total of 47 genera and 240 species native to the region. The great majority of the malviflora belongs to an Indo-Malayan element, but a Western Palaeoarctic element extends to the extreme west of China (Alcea, Althaea, Lavatera) and in the case of Malva to further east. Tilioideae forms a 3rd element, which is more diverse in East and North East Asia than elsewhere.

The Indo-Malayan element forms the great majority of the malviflora. It is concentrated in the south of the region, especially in the regions adjacent to South East Asia (Yunnan, Guangsi, Guangdong and Hainan); Yunnan alone is host to well over half the species of Malvaceae found in East and North East Asia. This element extends, in a less diverse form, to the southeast of Xizang (Tibet), to Sichuan, to the remaining regions south of the Yangtse, and to Taiwan and the Ryukyu Islands. There are a few species (Corchoropsis crenata, Grewia biloba, Triumfetta japonica and the species of Hibiscus sect. Hibiscus - Hibiscus paramutablis, Hibiscus sinosyriacus and Hibiscus syriacus) which have invaded the Palaeoarctic flora.

The flora of the Bonin Islands shows connections with the flora of the Pacific Islands, and includes several endemic species (Hibiscus pacificus, Melochia compacta, Talipariti glaber).

The sole endemic genus is Corchoropsis, but there are a considerable number of endemic species.


Counts of genera

by country
by region

Species counts for genera (numbers in brackets represent naturalised and casual species)

national counts

Species distributions (N represents naturalised species, C casual species)

Malvaceae in East and North East Asia (excluding China)
Malvaceae in North China
Byttnerioideae, Grewioideae, Tilioideae, Brownlowioideae, Dombeyoideae, Helicteroideae, Sterculioideae, Bombacoideae, Malvoideae in South China

Species lists

China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Russian Far East
Hainan, Ryukyu Islands, Bonin (Ogawasara) Islands, Cheju-Do, Ulnung-Do, Kurile Islands
Kyushu, Shikoku, Honshu, Hokkaido
Amur Region, Irkustsk Oblast, Tuva
Anhui, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mengol (Inner Mongolia), Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Xinjiang, Xizang (Tibet), Yunnan, Zhejiang,


  1. Wu, Z. Y., P. H. Raven & D. Y. Hong, eds, Flora of China 12: 263-330 (2007)
  2. Flora of Taiwan 3: 723-771 (1993)
  3. Flora of Japan
  4. Korean Plant Names Index
  5. Floristic regions of northern Asia
  6. A Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Taiwan

Malvaceae Info
Biogeography of Malvaceae