Sphaeralcea ambigua – Desert Globemallow
Scientific Name: Sphaeralcea ambigua
Common Name: Desert Globemallow
Growth Habit: Subshrub, Herb/Forb
Arizona Native Status: Native
Habitat: Desert. This showy wildflower can often be seen blooming along roadsides, and it is also grown in xeriscape and wildflower gardens.
Flower Color: Red, Orange, Pink, Pinkish violet, White
Flowering Season: Spring, Summer. It has a long blooming season but blooms most heavily in the spring.
Height: To 40 inches (102 cm) tall
Description: The flowers are 1 1/2 inches (3.8 cm) across and have 5 fan-shaped, cupped petals and yellow to pink anthers. The flowers come in a wide variety of cultivated colors that have become naturalized here. The variable leaves have ruffled, scalloped edges and are tri-lobed, dull green in color, and 2 inches (5 cm) long. The leaves are covered in tiny hairs that can cause eye irritation if they are rubbed off and become airborne. The plants form large, rounded mounds of numerous stems.
The similar Emory's Globemallow (Sphaeralcea emoryi) has thickened, elongated, densely hairy, grayish green leaves, Fendler's Globemallow (Sphaeralcea fendleri) has longer, narrower, unruffled leaves and flowers with uncupped petals, and Caliche Globemallow (Sphaeralcea laxa) has flowers with dark maroon anthers and unruffled leaves.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Malvaceae – Mallow family
Genus: Sphaeralcea A. St.-Hil. – globemallow
Species: Sphaeralcea ambigua A. Gray – desert globemallow
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