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Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Sphaeralcea ambigua Gray
Desert globemallow, Apricot globe-mallow, Desert mallow, Globe mallow, Apricot mallow
USDA Symbol: spam2
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Shrubby and woolly, this perennial grows 1-3 ft., with numerous large, apricot-orange flowers in wand-like clusters near the tips of weak, wide-ranging, sometimes sprawling stems. The broad leaves have three lobes and rounded, scalloped edges. A grayish plant often with many stems, and bright orange-red flowers in clusters with erect branches.
One of the largest-flowered, most drought-tolerant species of Globe-mallow. In wet years it forms spectacular displays in the low, hot southwestern deserts. In some forms petals are pale purplish-pink.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf:
Green Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Orange
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov
AZ , CA , NV , UT Native Distribution:
S.w. UT to s. CA, s. to Mex. Native Habitat:
Dry, rocky slopes; sandy wash edges to 3500 ft. USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Dry, rocky or sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: This drought tolerant plant is the most xeriphytic of the Southwest Sphaeralceas. It is relatively short-lived but usually self-seeds.
The large number of flowers produced over a year provides a steady source of pollen and nectar
to honey bees and other insects. Conspicuous Flowers:
PropagationDescription: Plant untreated seed 1/4 deep in fall. Usually will germinate in the winter and grow rapidly in the spring.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: No treatment needed.
Commercially Avail: yes
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Record Modified: 2009-02-21
Research By: TWC Staff