Anisodontea, commonly African mallow or in Afrikaans sandroos (sand rose) or bergroos (mountain rose), is a genus of perennials, shrubs and suffrutices, i.e. low-growing, woody subshrubs. The genus forms part of the Malvaceae family. The plants are sometimes decumbent, lying on the ground with only raised stem-tips.
The leaves are simple, lobed, divided and sometimes trifoliolate, usually with petioles and often roughly hairy.
The flowers are solitary or appear in cyme-shaped clusters from leaf axils. There is an epicalyx or collar of three to five bracts below each flower, sometimes at the calyx tube base. (Hibiscus plants also have such collars but in their case the collars comprise from five to twelve bracts.) The bell-shaped calyx has three to five lobes.
From four to eight, mostly five petals make up a flower corolla. The petals are longer than the sepals, sometimes notched at their tips or bilobed and lobed at the base. The petal colours are white and pink to magenta in various shades.
The stamens, combined in a tube, split at its tip into many filaments. The numerous anthers are grouped in clusters. The anthers are yellow or red, usually drying to black. The numerous carpels have one to six ovules each, a thread-like style branch on top of each carpel.
The fruits split when dry, releasing ovoid to kidney-shaped seeds that are sometimes hairy.
There are about 21 Anisodontea species, all in southern Africa and mainly in the Karoo and dry fynbos. The plants often proliferate after fires and on disturbed ground. They are not very palatable to browsers. The genus is thought to be underrepresented in horticulture.
The plant in picture is Anisodontea reflexa (Leistner, (Ed.), 2000; Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2015; Manning, 2009).