Sonoran Desert Mallows

Shrubs, perennial herbs, and annuals. Distinctive flower and fruit: Numerous stamens united into a tube around the central style. Usu. with five separate petals. Fruit five to many carpels joined in a radial pattern (schizocarp). Many, many species in the Sonoran Desert; only seven shown so far ...

Desert Globe Mallow

Sphaeralcea ambigua

Arrow-leaf Mallow

Malvela sagitifolia

Abundant spring perennial or subshrub along roadsides, washes, near agric. fields and washes. Flowers shade from orange to pink. Leaves with gritty, stellate hairs. Detailed Description

On desert pans (poorly drained flat areas) this silver-leaved plant grows flat along ground. Pale, 5-petal flowers nearly white. Detailed Description

Cheeseweed Mallow

Malva parviflora

Superstition Mallow

Abutilon palmeri

Yellow flowers on a weakly shrubby plant. The leaves are thick and velvety. Fruit a multi-parted capsule. Detailed Description

Abundant, non-native, winter and spring weed found in urban and agricultural settings, vacant lots and in disturbed desert habitats. Flowers very obscure in leaf axils. Detailed Description

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Indian Mallow

Abutilon incanum


Herissantia crispa

Common small shrubby plant found on rocky slopes and in canyons of the Sonoran Desert. Small, yellowish-orange flowers. Soft velvet leaves.   Detailed Description

Frail semi-shrub with pail yellow-orange flowers. Sepals surrounding the fruit enlarge and become a papery sac. Flower stalks have a characteristic bend. Fairly common on rocky slopes at mid to upper elevations in the Sonoran Desert.   Detailed Description

Rock Hisbiscus

Hibiscus denudatus

Thurber's Cotton

Gossypium thurberi

Semi-shrub with one or a few sparsely branching stems to 1 meter tall. Flowers delicate pink with red center/stamens. Seeds hirsute. Rocky slope in the lower Sonoran Desert. Detailed Description

A woody plant with white to pink cotton flowers mostly in Upper Sonoran Desert around Tucson and southeastern Arizona. Detailed Description

Desert Rose Mallow

Hibiscus coulteri

Yellow Felt Plant

Horsfordia newberryi

A weakly woody shrub found along canyon washes and on rocky hillsides. Showy yellow mallow flowers. Leaves digitately divided.   Detailed Description

Woody shrub with one to a few erect stems. Uncommon on hillsides mostly in the lower elevations of the Sonoran Desert. Stems with distinct yellow-brown cast due to abundant stellate hairs. Smallish yellow flowers.    Detailed Description

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Sida tragiifolia

Coulter's Globe Mallow

Sphaeralcea coulteri

A semi-woody plant found near desert or canyon washes. Triangular leaves with crenate margins. Small yellow flowers. Distinct sculture on surfaces of carpel segments which readily separate.   Detailed Description

An ephemeral, low growing annual of spring in the lower elevations of the Sonoran Desert mostly in sandy spots.    Detailed Description


M. tomentosa

Rock Hisbiscus

Hibiscus denudatus

Slender woody stems surpassing 1 meter tall, deltoid leaves with toothed margins. Tropical Sonoran Desert.   Detailed Description

Sonoran Desert Places


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2017, updated 19 Oct. 2017.