Information About Desert Globemallow
Common Name: Desert Globemallow, Apricot Mallow
Scientific name: Sphaeralcea ambigua
Origin of Name: Sphaeralcea is from the Greek word “sparia” which is a globe (reffering to the round fruits) and the Latin word “alcea” which means mallow.
Habit:This perennial herb produces erect stems up to about 80 centimeters tall from a thick root system. It is woolly and gray-green in color. The alternately arranged leaves have triangular blades up to 6 centimeters long, usually edged with large lobes and a toothed margin. Flowers occur in clusters on a raceme-like inflorescence. The flower has five apricot to red-orange petals each just over a centimeter long.
American Indian uses: According to the Native American Ethnobotany database at University of Michigan Dearborn there are 16 ethnograghic counts of Native uses of this plant. People of the Gosiute tribe made paint with the flowers and applied it to the inside of their earthenware dishes. For a comprehensive list of the ethnobotany of the Gosiute tribe click here. The
Shoshoni used the plant as an antiemetic, preparing a decoction of the root for upset stomach. They also used the plant externally as an antirheumatic a poultice of mashed plant was used for rheumatic or swollen areas. Plant was also used as a cathartic, a decoction of root or whole plant taken as a physic. Also used a cold remedy. They also used plant as a contraceptive and infusion of root taken as birth control. A decoction of root or whole plant taken as an emetic. A decoction of leaves used as an eyewash.
A decoction of root or whole plant taken for venereal disease and a veterinary medicine a poultice of boiled plant applied to wire cuts on horses. The whole plant was boiled, added to red clay and used to make cups. The Yavapai used plant stems as a litter for drying mescal.
Herbal uses: no data available, help us build this database by contributing information.
Chemical Constituents: no data available, help us build this database by contributing information.
Propagation: Sphaeralcea ambigua is cultivated as an ornamental plant by specialty plant nurseries for use in desert and drought tolerant gardens, and a native plant its desert region’s natural landscaping and habitat restoration projects. It is a perennial that grows to 3′ H x 3′ W. For specific details click here. This plant attracts many species of bees, a few of which are specialists, requiring pollen and nectar only from Spaeralcea and related genera.
Other: Plants of this genus are inportant forage sources for a number of rodents, rabbits and other lagomorphs, and ungulates such as deer and antelope.- Train, Percy, James R. Henrichs and W. Andrew Archer 1941 Medicinal Uses of Plants by Indian Tribes of Nevada. Washington DC. U.S. Department of Agriculture (p. 141,142) - Murphey, Edith Van Allen 1990 Indian Uses of Native Plants. Glenwood, Ill. Meyerbooks. Originally published in 1959 (p. 43) - Gifford, E. W. 1936 Northeastern and Western Yavapai. University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology 34:247-345 (p. 259)