FACT SHEET: Munroe Globemallow

Common Name
: Munroe Globemallow
Scientific Name: Sphaeralcea munroana
Family: Mallow Family (Malvaceae)
Distribution: northern Intermountain West
Habitat: desert and foothill habitats
Habit: perennial herb
Height: 1-3'
Spread: 1-3''
Foliage Color: gray green
Leaves: round, shallowly scalloped, alternate
Flower Color: orange
Flower Form: like miniature hollyhoks borne along elongate stems
Flowering Season: summer

Cultural Requirements: Requires full sun and well-drained soils. Fully cold-hardy. Very drought hardy (i.e., needs no supplemental water after establishment on the Wasatch Front), but tolerant of overwatering. Overwatering and overfertilizing cause rank weak growth--for a higher flower to foliage ratio, grow under sparse conditions. Plants do best with a lot of space--they do not compete well with grasses or other vigorous perennials.

Culture: Easily obtained from direct late fall seeding. At dispersal, seeds are hard, i.e., they do not take up water, and in nature they can live for many years in the ground. Nicking with a razor blade or rubbing on sandpaper breaks the hardseededness. The seeds germinate readily once water uptake takes place. Plants produced as container stock often flower the first year.

Uses and Notes of Interest: The globemallows are among the few natives with truly orange flowers. This is just one of several species with horticultural potential. All have similar cultural requirements, except for some Southwestern species that are not cold hardy. Globemallow flowers have the added attraction of a lovely, unusual fragrance, a little bit like orange blossoms. Seeds are readily collected by stripping the dried fruits, which resemble little wagonwheels with seeds between the spokes. Prolific seeders, globemallows freely reseed themselves into openings.