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Flaigg, Norman G.
Sphaeralcea coccinea (Nutt.) Rydb.
Scarlet globemallow, Caliche globemallow
USDA Symbol: spco
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
An upright or sometimes sprawling, densely white-hairy perennial, scarlet globe mallow rarely reaches more than 1 ft. in height. The plant has several stems and is sometimes found growing in clumps or even extensive colonies. Its flowers, with orange-pink petals backed by red bracts, occur in few-flowered clusters from the axils of palmately lobed leaves. Red-orange or brick-red flowers bloom in narrow clusters and in upper axils on these leafy, branched, velvety-haired plants.
Globe-mallows are common plants on western ranges, but difficult to identify. One of the easiest species to recognize is Scaly Globe-mallow (S. leptophylla) which is covered with gray scale-like hairs and has very narrow upper leaves, not divided or toothed. It grows from southern Utah, southwestern Colorado, and northeastern Arizona to western Texas and northern Mexico.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Biennial Habit: Shrub Leaf:
Green Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red , Orange
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
AZ , CO , IA , ID , KS , MN , MT , ND , NE , NM , NV , OK , OR , SD , TX , UT , WY Canada: SK Native Distribution:
Sask. & Alt., s. to TX & n.e. AZ; rare in IA Loess Hills Native Habitat:
Desert plains & mesas; dry, loess bluffs USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Light, gravelly limestone or sandy clay soils.
Conditions Comments: The leaves become thinner, less deeply lobed, and bright green when plants are grown in shade.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Deer and pronghorn graze this plant, and birds and small mammals eat the fruits.
Use Medicinal: Chewed to paste and rubbed over hands making them immune to scalding water. Also applied to inflamed sores and wounds. Tea as lotion for skin diseases, tonic to improve appetite, for rabies. (Kindscher)
Blackfoot Indians chewed plant and applied paste to scalds, sores and burns as a cooling agent. (Weiner)
Crushed leaves used as poultice for skin irritations. Same crushed leaves used as a shoe liner for blisteded feet. Used by Indians for treating sore eyes.
Use Other: Rich in Vitamin A.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Sow treated seed or take rhizome
cuttings in spring. Spring tip cuttings under mist or in a heated frame are another propagation option. Seed Collection:
Seeds are enclosed in a papery crown and are often subject to insect damage. Seed Treatment:
Scarification is beneficial, especially when seeds have been dried and stored. Commercially Avail:
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Sibley Nature Center
- Midland, TXNative Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Recommended Species Lists
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Record Modified: 2010-04-30
Research By: TWC Staff