WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 

This widespread desert mallow reaches 1–6 feet tall, often without branching, with numerous orange-red, hibiscus-like flowers along the upper stalk. Note the leaves have a downy covering of yellow to gray, star-shaped hairs, and the flowers grow in clusters in the leaf axils along the stems.


FLOWERS: June–October. Clusters with 3–4 flowers and a leaf grow at nodes separated along the stems. Cup-shaped flowers, 1-inch diameter (2.5 cm) with 5 orange to reddish, or rarely pink or white petals, and a column of stamens; anthers yellow. This species has hair-like bractlets below the flower base (calyx).


LEAVES: Alternate. Blade gray-green, 1/2–2 1/2 inches long (1.2–6.5 cm), oval to triangular shaped or with 3 shallow to deep lobes; tip rounded, base triangular, surfaces covered with downy yellow to gray, star-shaped hairs, margins entire to irregular and wavy.


HABITAT: Sandy, gravelly, clay-loam soils, roadsides; prairies, desert scrub, pinyon-juniper, ponderosa woodlands.


ELEVATION: 4,000–7,000 feet.


RANGE: AZ, NM, TX.


SIMILAR SPECIES: 15 species in New Mexico, many similar and difficult to distinguish in the field. Small-leaf Globemallow, S. parvifolia, in nw NM, has flowers without leaves in separated whorls along the stem, and rounded to triangular leaves without deep lobes.


NM COUNTIES: Widespread (except ne plains counties) in low- to mid-elevation arid habitats: Bernalillo, Catron, Chaves, Cibola, Dona Ana, Eddy, Grant, Hidalgo, Lincoln, Los Alamos, Luna, McKinley, Otero, Roosevelt, Rio Arriba, San Juan, San Miguel, Santa Fe, Sandoval, Sierra, Sierra, Socorro, Taos, Torrance, Valencia.

GRAY  GLOBEMALLOW

SPHAERALCEA  INCANA

Malvaceae, Mallow Family
Perennial herb

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Groups of about 3 flowers and a leaf grow in separated clusters along the upper stem.

Tiny, hair-like bractlets grow beneath the flower base (calyx).

A downy covering of gray to yellowish, star-shaped hairs blanket the leaves.

Leaf shape varies from oval to 3-lobed with the middle longest.  White flowers are rare.

With moisture, Sphaeralcea incana can develop into a 6-foot, bushy plant.

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