Scarlet globemallow, red false mallow
Most of the West; not California, Washington or west/central Oregon
Between 4 and 8 inches
Open, dry locations including roadsides, plains and hillsides; 1,000 to 8,000 feet
Deeply divided into 3 or 5 segments, with rounded lobes. Up to 2 inches long
The leaves are often the best way to identify globemallow species; those of sphaeralcea coccinea are palm-like, divided into 3 or 5 leaflets, each split into two or more rounded or pointed segments. The edges of the lobes can be folded up, making them seem narrower, and the leaves are generally quite variable in appearance. Foliage is greenish-grey in color due to a covering of soft, velvety hairs. These tiny hairs are star shaped, with five radiating branches. Plants spread via roots, and can form large colonies. Stems may grow upwards or lean over, staying close to the ground.
The cup shaped, orange or red flowers are a little less than an inch in diameter; they have five hairy green sepals, five overlapping petals (about twice as long) and a center of short, yellow-tipped stamens. Petals may be notched at the tip. Flowers are produced in small clusters, sprouting from the upper leaf nodes.