Need to add “S.” before names; ensure that symbols come across; Italicize scientific names; consistently omit authors
Species in Utah • 4 species fairly widespread • S. coccinea • S. grossulariifolia • S. munroana • S. parvifolia • 4 species restricted to a single county • 6 species endemic to Utah
Weak character differences between species Polyploidy and hybridization Difficulties
Generic Characteristics • Herbs or shrubs • Stellate pubescence • Leaves entire to deeply dissected or compound • Inflorescence of solitary flowers, racemes, thyrsoid, panicles • Flowers red-orange, lavender, yellow, or rarely white • Fruit a schizocarp with several to many mericarps
Species Identification (1) • Leaves • Shallowly or deeply lobed • Length to width ratio • Pubescence • Density • Coarse or delicate • Rays slender or not • 2 or 3-dimensional
Species identification (2) • Inflorescence • Thyrsoid • Paniculate • Racemose • Number of flowers/node • Calyx • Length • Lobe length • Overall shape • Flowers • Petal length
Not or shallowly lobed Deeply lobed Leaves
Thyrsoid/ paniculate: flowers attached in a cluster at the nodes Racemose: 1(2,3) flowers/node, all attached directly to main stem Inflorescence
4 commonly confused species • S. coccinea • S. grossulariifolia • S. munroana • S. parvifolia
Leaves entire or shallowly lobed Leaves densely pubescent, relatively thick, margins weakly crenulate - S. parvifolia Leaves moderately pubescent (greenish), relatively thin, margins coarsely and irregularly crenulate - S. munroana Leaves deeply lobed Inflorescence thyrsoid or paniculate with 2+ flowers/node; mericarps higher than wide – S. grossulariifolia Inflorescence racemose with 1(2,3) flowers/node; mericarps nearly as high as wide – S. coccinea Key to Common Species
Sphaeralcea parviflora • Perennial from a thick crown or woody, short branched caudex; typically with multiple, erect to ascending stems and usually short-branched. • Herbage gray-green, moderately to densely pubescent; stellate hairs in multiple planes.
Leaves cauline; petiole 1.5-4(6)cm; blade thickish, about as wide as long, deltate-ovate to suborbicular, sometimes shallowly 3-5 lobed, palmately veined, veins prominent beneath, slightly channeled above.
Inflorescence relatively narrowly thyrsoid-glomerate; pedicels 2-10 mm, ascending; calyx 5-8(9) mm, lobes ovate, obtuse, densely pubescent; petals 2-10 mm, orange-red; staminal column 3-5.5 mm, glabrous, anthers apical; styles capitate.
Schizocarp of about 10 mericarps forming a ring 4-5.5 mm in diameter; mericarps 2-seeded, 2.8-4 mm high, 2-2.3 mm wide, pubescent on back and margins. Seeds 1.7-2 mm long, reniform, dark brown to black, patches of minute hairs.
Washes, roadsides, and among greasewood, blackbrush, sagebrush and juniper communities. 750-2450 m. Southern and lower elevation counterpart to S. munroana. The confluent leaf blades seem to be diagnostic for most specimens of this species.
Sphaeralcea munroana • Perennial from a thick crown or woody, short branched caudex; typically multiple erect to ascending stems, unbranched or often short-branched. • Herbage green, moderately to sparsely pubescent; stellate rays in three planes.
Leaves cauline; petiole 1.5-4.5(5.5)cm; blade thin, about as wide as long, deltate-ovate, often moderately 3-5 lobed, lobes rounded or obtuse, palmately veined, veins not as prominent beneath.
Inflorescence relatively narrowly thyrsoid-glomerate; pedicels stout, shorter than the calyx; calyx 4.7-7 mm, lobes ovate, acute, densely pubescent; petals 8-14(18) mm, grenadine; staminal column 4.5-5.7 mm, glabrous to sparsely pubescent, anthers apical; styles capitate.
Schizocarps of 10-12 mericarps forming a ring 4-5.2 mm in diameter; mericarps 1(2)-seeded, 2-3 mm high, 1.8-2.5 mm wide, apically pubescent on back and margins. Seeds about 1.7 mm long, reniform, dark brown, minutely pubescent.
Deserts, valleys and foothills among rabbitbrush and sagebrush communities. 640-2400 m. Difficult to distinguish from S. parviflora. S. munroana var. subrhomboidea has 3 distinct lobes reaching almost halfway to the base is found along the Wasatch and Oquirrh Mts. and North into Southern Idaho.
Sphaeralcea grossulariifolia • Perennial from a thick crown or woody, short branched caudex; typically multiple erect to ascending stems, unbranched or often short-branched. • Herbage greenish, moderately to sparsely pubescent on leaves, densely pubescent on stems; stellate hairs in three planes, often with appressed rays on stems.
Leaves cauline; petiole (1)1.5-5(7)cm; blade more or less thin, about as wide as long, deltate or broadly ovate in outline, 3-5 lobed sometime appearing 3-foliate, lobes with deeply cleft lateral lobes, lateral lobes asymmetrical, >10 mm wide, palmately veined, veins prominent beneath.
Inflorescence relatively narrowly thyrsoid-glomerate; pedicels stout, shorter than the calyx, sometimes longer at the lower nodes; calyx 5-11 mm, lobes ovate to lanceolate, acute; petals 11-22 mm, grenadine; staminal column 4-6 mm, glabrous or stellate pubescent, anthers apical; styles capitate.
Schizocarp of 10-12 mericarps forming a ring 4.5-6.5 mm in diameter; mericarps 1(2)-seeded, 2.5-3.5(4) mm high, 2-3 mm wide, pubescent on dorsal and apical surfaces. Seeds about 2 mm long, reniform, dark brown, minutely puberulent.
Deserts, valleys and foothills among blackbrush, greasewood, shadscale, rabbitbrush and sagebrush vegetation. 800-2300 m. A complex species with great variation in the dissection of the leaves. Much of the variation likely comes from introgression with other species. It appears to be less common in the Southern portions of its range.
Sphaeralcea coccinea • Perennial from a woody, branched caudex, surmounting deep-seated running roots, often forming colonies; stems several to many, decumbent or ascending, unbranched or with short, often poorly developed branch. • Herbage grayish-green, stellately pubescent, rays angled away from the surface.
Leaves cauline; petiole 1-2.5(4)cm; blade, wider than long, broadly ovate to orbicular in outline, pedately 3-foliate, lower lateral lobes deeply divided, lower segments imparting a 5-foliate appearance, mid lobe ternate to pinnatifid.
Inflorescence: lower flowers solitary in leaf axils and a bracteate raceme above with 1 flower per node, barely elongating in fruit; pedicels 2-10 mm, relatively stout at maturity, ascending; calyx (5)6-9.5 mm, lobes triangular-ovate, acute; petals 10-16(20) mm, deep orange to reddish-orange; staminal column 3-5 mm, sparsely stellate pubescent, anthers apical; styles capitate.
Schizocarp of 10-14 mericarps forming a ring 4.8-6.7 mm in diameter; mericarps 1(2)-seeded, 2-2.6(4) mm high, 2.4-3 mm wide, rounded dorsally, densely pubescent on dorsally. Seeds about 2 mm long, reniform, dark brown to black.
Sandy and gravelly soils in greasewood, shadscale, sagebrush, pinyon-juniper and Gambel oak communities. (1000)1375-2750 m. The somewhat smaller stature, branched caudex with running roots, dense pubescence on the leaves, and simple raceme inflorescence help distinguish this species from S. grossulariifolia.