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; 7.9” to 1.8' (2 to 5.5 dm) tall
Leaves: alternate; simple; lobed; entire; 0.4” to 1.28” (10 to 32 mm) long
Flowers: 5 orange or reddish distinct petals; 5 united lobed sepals; styles 5 to numerous; numerous stamens joined by their stalks into a tube; several pistils united in a ring; bisexual; flowers radially symmetrical; petals 0.32” to 0.48” (8 to 12 mm) long
Pollinators: bees; sometimes bees of the genus Diadaysia 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 and pinyon-juniper communities; can be found in the Morrison Formation, Entrada Sandstone, Carmel Formation, Navajo Sandstone, Kayenta Formation, Chinle Formation, Moenkopi Formation and Cutler Formation
Location seen: widespread
Other: The genus name, “Sphaeralcea”, is from “sphaira” which means “globe” and “alcea” which is the name of a related genus (hollyhock), thus referring to the spherical fruits. The species name, “leptophylla”, means “with slender leaves” describing the lobes on this plant's leaves.
Cotton and okra (Hibiscus) are in this family.