Malvaceae Sphaeralcea parvifolia

Multiple images of orange flowers with five wide petals.

Sphaeralcea parvifolia

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; 7.87” to 3.3' (2 to 10 dm) tall

Leaves: alternate; simple; kidney or heart-shaped; shallowly lobed; toothed; 0.6” to 2.2” (1.5 to 5.5 cm) long; 0.48” to 2.08” (1.2 to 5.2 cm) wide

Flowers: 5 distinct petals, 5 united lobed sepals; usually bisexual; orange or reddish; styles 5 to numerous; numerous stamens joined by their stalks into a tube; several pistils united in a ring; flowers radially symmetrical; petals 0.28” to 0.6” (7 to 15 mm) long

Pollinators: bees; sometimes bees of the genus Diadaysia can be found curled up in the flowers in the morning

Fruits: schizocarp

Blooms in Arches National Park: April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November

Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities

Location seen: widespread along park road, around Visitor Center area

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, “parvifolia”, means “small-leaved”.

Cotton and okra (Hibiscus) are in this family.

Last updated: February 4, 2023

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