Sphaeralcea ambigua

Accession Count: 0
Common Name: Desert Globemallow, Globemallow
Family Name: Malvaceae
Botanical Name: Sphaeralcea ambigua
Sub Species:
Variety:
Forma:
Cultivar:
Characteristics: Sphaeralcea ambigua is a native perennial to the Sonoran Desert, and is commonly known for its wide range in flower color. The desert globemallow mostly displays apricot to brilliant orange flowers, while the sub species S. ambigua subsp. rosacea blooms red, white, pink and purple flowers. The flowers grow in clusters at the end of each stem, and bloom throughout the spring (1,2). Its leaves are triangular and three-lobed, only growing to about one inch wide and one inch long. The S. ambigua leaf is grayish-green in color and has yellow/white looking hairs like many other plants native to the Sonoran Desert (1). The subshrub grows in a bundle of woody stems that can reach up to three feet in height and width (1,2).
Compound: Sph amb
Geographic Origin: Sonoran desert
Ecozone Origin: Nearctic
Biome Origin:
Natural History: Native to the Sonoran Desert, the desert globemallow population is wide-spreading, also found in regions of the Mojave Desert and Colorado Plateau, as well as northern Baja, Mexico (2).
Cultivation Notes: The globemallow has a moderate growth rate and requires very little water, none to monthly. The plants' hardiness allows it to survive temperatures as low as 15oF. S. ambigua grows best in full sun exposure, and numerous types of soils as long as they are well drained. When trying to grow desert globemallow, note that the best time for sowing the seeds is fall or winter, and should be nicked/scratched when done so (1,2). 
Ethnobotany: For Landscape usage, the short-lived, desert globemallow is utilized as an ornamental container plant, mainly to display its flowers. In order to ensure a particular flower color, it is best to buy container plants and sow the seeds (1). It has many other important uses, such as erosion control, revegetation of disturbed areas, and habitats for pollinating species (2). This subshrub is great for transition and arid landscapes. The globemallow had many purposes for the native people of the southwest. The Yavapai would use the stems to create trays for drying saguaro fruit, while the Shoshoni used the plant for medicinal purposes such as upset stomach, treatment for infectious diseases, and as eye medicine (2). 

Height: 0 - 5 feet
Width: 0 - 5 feet
Growth Rate: Moderate Growing
Grow Season: Fall
Flower Season: Spring
Color: Orange
Function:
Spread: Spreading
Allergen: Non-allergenic
Invasive: Benign
Toxicity: Benign
Hardy: Hardy
Water Use: Low water Use
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Sphaeralcea ambigua