Thursday, May 12, 2016

Three Globes

Photo credits: Orange, fruit Ned Harris;
pink, white © 1966 - Present, Audrey, Eve, & George DeLange

Desert Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua var. rosacea) flowers are pink, orange, white, and even red. Same color flowers on individual plants, though.

Photo credits: left © 2016 T. Beth Kinsey
Ned Harris, Marty Horowitz

Caliche Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea laxa) is very common in Tucson. As the name suggests, it grows well in our hard-as-rock caliche soil. Flowers of this species are always orange. You can tell the difference between this and orange Desert Globe Mallow by looking at the stamens (male parts) that stick up in the middle. Dark ones mean Caliche Globe Mallow. Yellow, Desert.

Left © 2016 T. Beth Kinsey; Rt. Marty Horowitz

I've only seen Fendler Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea fendleri) flowers in shades of pink in Sabino, but they can also be orange. You can tell them apart from the other Globe Mallows by looking at the petals. They are generally more heart shaped, and tend to open fully, like the photo on the left.

To conclude our little Mallow lesson, let's review the 3 Fs.
Foliage: slimy when crushed
Flower: 5 separate petals
Fruit: multiple chambers

And, because we always want to know which plants of this family can be eaten, I give you Okra (not found in Sabino).

A big thanks to T. Beth Kinsey of Firefly Forest fame. Her site, Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers and Plants, inspired me on my plant journey, and I'm eternally grateful.

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