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Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Sphaeralcea laxa - caliche globe mallow

Synonyms: Sphaeralcea ribifolia
Plant Form: Forb or Subshrub

Family: Malvaceae

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Patrick Alexander @
Patrick Alexander @
Forb Plant Description

Origin: Native   Life Cycle: Perennial   Similar Species: Other Sphaeralcea sp.
General Desc: Native perennial having 5-petaled orange, red or pink flowers and deeply lobed green leaves. It grows in high pH soils containing calcium carbonate (caliche).
Identification notes: Herbage with matted hairs; flowers in open, long-branched panicle of relatively few flowers; relatively thick walled carpels (ovary) are half as wide as high, netting is smooth and fine.
Height: To 3 feet


Habitat Description: Lower elevation dry fields and roadsides. Found on lime soil.
Plant Communities: Desert Scrub, Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland, Disturbed Areas
Elevation: 2000 - 6000 feet

Flower Characteristics

Color: Orange, red or pink     Shape: Regular in elongated clusters     Tubular: N     Flowering Period: Mar - Nov
Description: The 5-petaled flowers have dark maroon anthers and are up to 1-1/2 inches wide.

Leaf and Stem Characteristics

Leaf Color: Green     Leaf Type: Simple     Leaf Shape: Palmate     Leaf Margin: Lobed     Leaf Attachment: Alternate     Leaves Clasp: N
Hairs: Leaves and stems     Spines: N
Leaf Description: The leaves are alternate, green, broadly scalloped, and stippled with short, starlike, whitish hairs. The leaves are almost as wide as long, and palmately lobed with 3 main lobes.

Fruit and Seed Characteristics

Fruit Color: Green   
Fruit Notes: The fruit is a schizocarp, meaning it breaks into segments when dry. The schizocarp of the Sphaeralcea laxa breaks into 9 to 17 segments.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Feb 16, 2020  
Content Questions/Comments: Email Jeff Schalau  
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