Sphaeralcea ambigua A. Gray -- Description
Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 22(2): 292. 1887. Desert globemallow, sore-eye poppy, apricot mallow. Doubtful, probably meaning open to interpretation.
Plants: perennial subshrubs
Stems: to 100 cm; sometimes with shredded bark and to 5 cm thick.
Leaves: Unlobed to shallowly lobed, less than three times as long as wide, usually cordate, less often truncate, margin with small teeth or crenulations
Inflorescences: few-flowered, often with several longer branches, usually throughout
Flowers: various shades of lavender, orange, and red-orange
Fruit/Carpels: various; usually truncate conic; carpels with dehiscent or upper part usually comprising 1/2 or more of the whole; indehiscent portion1/3 or more of whole, reticulation distinct; apex of carpel usually mucronate.
Distribution and Habitat
Arizona, southern California, most of Nevada, southern Utah, Baja California, Baja California Sur, and the desert in Sonora. S. ambigua is mostly a plant of the deserts, growing in Sonoran deserscrub and Mohave desertscrub in Arizona. Many plants outside these habitats and at higher altitudes appear to be more closely related to S. parviflora.
A number of specimens of S. ambigua have hair rays that grow in a single plane radiating from the main stem, like the spokes of a wheel. Except for the absence of any webbing at the base of the rays, these are similar in structure to the lepidote hairs of S. leptophylla.