Densely stellate perennial 1-2 dm from deep-seated running roots, the stems often clustered on a stout caudex; lvs 2-5 cm, deeply 3-parted, the divisions variously lobed; fls in a compact, leafy raceme; pet 1-2 cm, rusty-red; mature carpels densely stellate, 1-seeded, reticulate on the sides, tuberculate on the back; 2n=10. Dry prairies and plains; w. Io. and w. Minn. to Man. and w. Tex., w. to the Rocky Mts. May, June. (Malvastrum c.)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
Tollefson 2006, Martin and Hutchins 1980, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Subshrub General: Low, spreading, rhizomatous, long lived perennial with a woody caudex, 10-40 cm tall, herbage grayish-green or greenish and covered in dense stellate hairs. Leaves: Blades pinnately parted or divided, midlobe pinnately cleft or parted, lateral lobes cuneate, rounded-truncate to acute at the apex, at least two-thirds as long as midlobe. Flowers: Dense, short, racemes growing the upper axils of the plant; on pedicels much shorter than calyx; calyx densely hairy, 5-10 mm long, subtending bractlets usually absent; petals 10-20 mm, orange-red; staminal column glabrous or pubescent. Fruits: Indehiscent schizocarp with 1-seeded carpels, deeply and narrowly notched, dehiscent portion horizontal to ascending, indehiscent portion narrowly reticulate. Ecology: Found on dry slopes, open ground, and disturbed areas from 5,000-8,000 ft (1524-2438 m); flowers April-September. Notes: This species is notable for its both upright and sometimes sprawling habit, and densely white hairy herbage. There are two known subspecies that occur in Arizona, rendering a collection necessary if that clarity is required. Ethnobotany: Used ceremonially, the chewed roots and dried plant were applied to sores, other skin diseases, a tonic was used to improve appetite, used as a disinfectant, as a strengthener, a life medicine, brewed into a tea, and the root juices were used by medicine men to protect their hands from fire or boiling water. Etymology: Sphaeralcea is from Greek sphaira, a globe, and alcea, a related genus, coccinea means scarlet. Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley, 2010