Desert Globemallow

Scientific Name:

Sphaeralcea ambigua

Type:

Herbaceous Plant

Habitat:

Desert

Range:

Native to parts of Southern California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona

Status:

No listed status

This species is

NATIVE

to the Truckee Meadows.

Identification:

This drought-tolerant shrub grows to be 1 to 3 feet in height and prefers full sun. It grows rapidly and produces small orange flowers in the early spring and throughout the summer - depending on rainfall. Desert globemallow grows in multiple stems and has small green leaves which can be identified by their three lobes and scalloped edges. This plant is a favorite among bees and other pollinating insects which rely on their flowers in the desert landscapes of the Southwestern United States.

Fast Facts:

  • Marshmallows are named after the plants they are derived from - mallows! We have this family to thank for the best summer treat!

  • Despite its small size, this species produces a large number of flowers which the pollinators in the southwest are thankful for! The many flowers mean a steady source of pollen and nectar - you may have even tasted some desert globemallow in local honey!

  • This plant has been recognized by ecologists as a species responsible for attracting a large number of native bee species and the common skipper butterfly. Consider planting it near your vegetable garden to increase pollinators in the area and help your fruits, herbs, and veggies flourish!

  • This plant only propagates from seed and thrives in even the driest soil! It reseeds itself so once planted it is likely little ones will pop up nearby.

  • After a fire, this is one of the first native species to return, ultimately preventing the spread of invasive species that prefer to take over vulnerable natural spaces.

  • This plant has been spotted in Arches National Park in Utah - but here in the Truckee Meadows you can spot it at Tom Cooke Trail!

  • It is sometimes referred to as apricot mallow due to its flowers being a similar color to apricots!

Sources:

Contributor(s):

Bridget Mulkerin (research & content)

Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

June 16, 2021, 11:06:40 PM