South Dakota Native Plant Research
Malvaceae : Sphaeralcea coccinea

Malvaceae : Sphaeralcea coccinea


Download Seed: Scarlet globemallow seed is 1.5-2 mm long. (61 KB)

Download Mature plant (1.5 MB)

Download Leaves and stems (487 KB)

Download Flowers (937 KB)

Download Mature plant (1.5 MB)

Family Name


Common Name

Scarlet globemallow

Native American Name

Lakota: heyókȟa tȟapȟéžuta


Sphaeralcea coccinea is a deep-rooted perennial herb with 1 or more decumbent to ascending stems growing from a woody caudex, reaching up to 50 cm in length, and usually covered with small hairs. The alternate, petiolate leaves are covered with hairs, irregularly divided 3-5 times, with the lobes divided again or merely toothed. The leaf blade’s overall outline is 1-6 cm long and about as wide or even wider, with the final narrow segments being oblong to oblanceolate. The inflorescence is a raceme, 2-11 cm long, and usually without subtending bracts. The flowers have short pedicels, a tubular calyx 3-10 mm long with 5 lobes that are equal to or longer than the tube. The 5 deep orange to brick red petals are 1-2 cm long and notched. There are numerous stamens, fused at the base, and 10 or more carpels, 3-3.5 mm tall, with stellate hairs at maturity. The fruit is a schizocarp. Scarlet globemallow blooms from April into August on dry prairies, plains and on hillsides in much of South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Scarlet globemallow is a hardy, long-lived and colorful addition to a native planting on a dry hillside or in a dry plains garden. The orange flowers are showy and bloom for long periods, providing nectar and pollen for native bees and butterflies. It thrives in poor soils and is very drought tolerant once established.

Horticulture Notes

Seed collection: Collect brown pods as they appear throughout the summer and fall. Allow them to dry in a paper bag.

Germination: The seeds have a water-impervious seedcoat and will germinate if fall sown or gently scarified with sandpaper and given a 30-day moist cold treatment.

Vegetative propagation: Plants spread slowly by root sprouts that can be divided in the spring.

Soils: They do better in poor well drained soils but are able to adapt to a wide range of drier soils.

Light: Full sun.

Water: Plants are drought tolerant once established. Water seeds until the plants develop. In especially dry years, an occasional watering will increase flower production.

Malvaceae : Sphaeralcea coccinea