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Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)
Perennial Forbs Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)

General: Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) is an upright subshrub (doesn't really produce woody tissue) with many upright stems arising from the base. The leaves are pale greenish, 3-lobed, crinkled, and covered with dense, fine gray hairs. In spring, many orange, globe-shaped flowers are produced.

Desert Globemallow is a common component of desert scrub communities on flats and bajadas in the Lower Sonoran (Creosote-Bursage Flats) and Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) life zones. At higher elevations, it is less common.

Around Las Vegas, look for Desert Globemallow at Red Rock Canyon, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Mojave National Preserve, and on the Desert National Wildlife Range.

Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)

Family: Mallow (Malvaceae).

Other Names: Apricot Mallow.

Plant Form: Many upright branches from the base.

Height: To 3- 4 feet.

Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)

Stems: Upright, many stems from base. Stems covered with dense, fine gray hairs (canescent).

Leaves: About 1-2 inches long, triangular, 3-lobes, wavy. Leaves covered with dense, fine gray hairs (canescent).

Flowers: Blooms in the spring, and then again as late as late November if conditions permit. Inflorescence: flowers arise along upper stems. Flower orange (apricot), radial; petals 5; stamens many, pistil 1. Petals overlap to form a globe-shaped flower.

Seeds: Fruit segmented, two seeds per segment.

Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)

Habitat: Desert scrub.

Elevation: About 500 to 8,000 feet.

Distribution: Southwestern U.S. including California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona.

Comments: Inconspicuous most of the year, desert globemallow covers the desert with orange flowers during the spring bloom.

Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)
Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)
Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)
Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)
Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)
Top of leaf: leaf covered with dense, fine gray hairs
Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)
Bottom of leaf: note aphids hiding under the leaf
Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)
Flowers are orange and radial, with a clump of stamens in the center
Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)
Note that the sepals, like the rest of the plant, are covered with dense, fine hairs
Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)
Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) more to come ...

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
copyright; Last updated 141119

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