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Seed of the Week: Desert Mallow

Our mystery seeds from last week came from plants called desert mallow or desert globemallow, which are actually several species in the genus Sphaeralcea.

Desert mallows are low-growing shrubs native to the southwestern United States. They do well in arid conditions, requiring relatively little water to survive.

The flowers vary from pale pink to deep orange to almost red. Firefly Forest has photographs showing the variety of  desert mallow flower colors and also information about how to identify some of the different species. One species, Fendler's Globemallow, looks a lot like its hollyhock relatives.

Desert mallows are relatively short-lived perennials, but they do self-seed readily. The ones in our yard were likely planted by birds or the wind.

If you are thinking of using desert mallows in your landscape, keep in mind is that the leaves are coated with tiny hairs that can irritate the skin and eyes if handled. I usually use gloves when working with them.

Here is a short video that shows more of the plant.

Where have you found desert mallows? Do they grow where you live?

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