Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Sphaeralcea coccinea, Scarlet Globemallow

Sphaeralcea coccinea, Scarlet GlobemallowSphaeralcea coccinea, Scarlet GlobemallowSphaeralcea coccinea, Scarlet GlobemallowSphaeralcea coccinea, Scarlet Globemallow

Scientific Name: Sphaeralcea coccinea
Common Name: Scarlet Globemallow
Also Called: Caliche Globemallow, Copper Mallow, Orange Globemallow and Red Falsemallow
Family: Malvaceae, Globe Mallow Family
Synonyms: ()
Status: Native
Duration: Biennial or perennial.
Size: Up to 12 inches more or less.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; stems from a woody caudex, plants erect or sprawling, herbage with densely stellate hairs.
Leaves: Green; pubescent with stellate hairs, palmately lobed.
Flower Color: Orange, orange-pink; flowers from leaf axils, fruit a schizocarp.
Flowering Season: April to September.
Elevation: 5,000 to 8,000 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Dry plains and mesas, often associated with grasses, pinyon-juniper community.

Recorded Range: Scarlet Globemallow is generally found in the western half of North America. In the United States it occurs in: AZ, CO, IA, ID, KS, MN, MT, ND, NE, NM, NV, OK, OR, SD, TX, UT and WY and in Canada it is found from Manitoba west to British Columbia. In Arizona it is found in the northeast and central parts of the state. In the southwest it is absent in California and found throughout most of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and western Texas.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Sphaeralcea coccinea.

U.S. Weed Information: No information available.

Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: Sphaeralcea coccinea is listed as a Noxious Weed by the federal government and/or a State; Weeds of Nebraska and the Great Plains, and Weeds of the West. Plants included here are invasive or noxious.

Wetland Indicator: No information available.

Threatened/Endangered Information: Scarlet Globemallow is listed as Threatened by the state of Iowa.

Genus Information: 26 species in Sphaeralcea in the western half of North America. 17 species in Arizona, 14 species in New Mexico, 8 species in California and 12 species in Texas.

2 sub-species in Sphaeralcea coccinea:
Sphaeralcea coccinea subsp. coccinea, Scarlet Globemallow (Recorded Range above);
Sphaeralcea coccinea subsp. elata, Scarlet Globemallow (AZ, CO, NM, NV, TX, UT, WY).

The Plant List includes 170 scientific plant names of species rank for the genus Sphaeralcea. Of these 53 are accepted species names.

Comments: Scarlet Globemallow is a long-lived species that may live up to 30 years or more. Most of the plants biomass is underground and energy is stored in a deep stout woody taproot. In certain ecosystems, such as plains and grassland communities, Scarlet Globemallow is the dominant herb.

In Southwest Desert Flora also see: Desert Globemallow, Sphaeralcea ambigua; Coulter's Globemallow, Sphaeralcea coulteri; Fendler’s Globemallow, Sphaeralcea fendleri; and Rusby's Globemallow, Sphaeralcea rusbyi.

Scarlet Globemallow as been used as a ceremonial medicine (Cheyenne) and dermatological aid (Lakota) and as a dietary aid (Navajo, Kayenta) by North American indigenous peoples. See ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

Date Profile Completed: 11/29/2015, updated format 09/28/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
Tollefson, Jennifer E. 2006. Sphaeralcea coccinea. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [2015, November 29].
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 11/27/2015).
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names, recorded geographic locations and general information