Family: Malvaceae - Mallow Family
Sphaeralcea is the only genus from this family represented at Arches National Park; Perennial herbs from taproots or rhizomes; usually hairy; mucilaginous stems; 2.36” to 1.4' (0.6 to 4.2 dm) tall
Leaves: alternate; simple; heart-shaped; toothed or lobed; 0.44” to 1.48” (1.1 to 3.7 cm) long; 0.48” to 2.08” (1.2 to 5.2 cm) wide
Flowers: 5 distinct orange or reddish petals, 5 united lobed sepals; usually bisexual; styles 5 to numerous; numerous stamens joined by their stalks into a tube; several pistils united in a ring; flowers radially symmetrical; flowers 0.32” to 0.6” (8 to 15 mm) long
Pollinators: bees (commonly of the genus Diadaysia); sometimes these bees can be found curled up in the flowers in the morning
Blooms in Arches National Park: April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November
Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub, grassland and pinyon-juniper communities
Location seen: park road mile 5.5, Delicate Arch Viewpoint road
Other: The genus name, “Sphaeralcea”, comes from “sphaira” which means “globe” and “alcea” which means “the name of a related genus – hollyhock, which is also in this family” and refers to the spherical fruits. The species name, “coccinea”, means “scarlet” and refers to the floral color.
Cotton and okra (Hibiscus) are also in this family.