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Plants in this order grow all over the world in a wide variety of habitats. Many of them, like cotton and cacao, are important crop plants. Plants in this order include the vegetable okra, the marshmallow, the hibiscus, and the kapok tree.

   Malvaceae - Mallow Family
butternutThe mallow family includes about 1,500 species of herbs, shrubs and trees. The flowers of these plants usually have five sepals and five petals. Species in this group occur in all but the coldest parts of the world. Plants include Indian mallow, wax mallow, poppy mallow, cotton, okra, hollyhock, rose mallow and hibiscus. This family also includes marsh mallow  which is used to make, you guessed it, marshmallow!

  Tiliaceae - Linden Family

butternutThere are about 450 species in this group including 30 species of linden trees. Many species in this family are used to make jute. Jute is used to make burlap and twine.

   Sterculiaceae - Cacao Family
butternutThis family includes 1,100 species of  tropical or subtropical trees, shrubs and herbs. Plants in this family include cacao which is used to make chocolate and cocoa and cola, which is used in sodas. Other plants include the dombeya and the sterculia.
butternutThere are about 400 species in this family. They grow in tropical and sub-tropical regions. The Chilean lantern tree has bright red flowers that look like lanterns. It is native to Chile, but is also an ornamental tree found in gardens. The blue marble tree is native to Australia. It has fruit that looks like bright blue marbles and blue seeds! The seeds are often used as beads.

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