New Mexico Wildflowers: Mallow Family

(Malvaceae)

 

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Common Mallow or Cheeseweed (Malva neglecta)

An introduced species. Look for tiny five-petaled flowers with lavender veins, set among small leaves (in shape, not unlike those on domestic geraniums). The plant as a whole is low-lying.

 

Alkali Mallow (Malvella leprosa)

Rubbed between your fingers, the leaves of this species feel gritty—and the "grit" rubs off.

 

Globemallow (Sphaeralcea)

One plant list for Bernalillo County includes fourteen species and subspecies of Sphaeralcea. Usually you'll encounter orange flowers. As one of my photos shows, globemallow flowers also come in pink—including in species whose flowers are more commonly orange. Globemallows in shades other than orange are widely available from suppliers of garden plants. I found my two examples of a pink globemallow in empty lots; I suspect that the seeds derived from a purchased plant.