Sphaeralcea rusbyi A. Gray
Family: Malvaceae
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Max Licher  
Welsh et al. 1993, Wiggins 1964, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Subshrub General: Stems few to many from caudex, or rarely subrhizomatous, mostly 20-65 cm tall, yellowish green to grayish canescent. Leaves: Blades 1.3-4.5 cm long, 1.2-4 cm wide, ovate to orbicular in outline, base truncate-obtuse to prominently cordate, parted to divided or merely cleft, lobes again toothed (spreading at right angles). Flowers: Inflorescence cylindrical or ovate panicle with more than 1 flower per node, pedicels shorter than calyx, bractlets often dark red; calyx uniformly stellate, more densely than herbage, rays of hairs not radiating in a single plain, lobes ovate to lance-ovate; petals 9-18 mm long, orange. Fruits: Carpels 10-12, 4-6 mm high, indehiscent part forming one quarter to three fifths of carpel, finely reticulate on sides, seeds copiously puberulent. Ecology: Found on hillsides and along watercourses from 2,500-6,000 ft (762-1829 m); flowers April=September. Notes: Closely related to S. laxa, from which it is distinguished by its sparse pubescence of long-rayed hairs and usually narrow inflorescence. There are two subspecies in Arizona with them appearing to overlap considerably. Resolution to the subspecies level will require collection. Var. gilensis is thought to be more common at the lower elevations in the desert and can be told apart by its less deeply palmately divided, with larger flowers, and more copious but shorter pubescence. Ethnobotany: Unknown, but other species in the genera have uses. Etymology: Sphaeralcea is from Greek sphaira, a globe, and alcea, a related genus, while rusbyi is named for Henry Hurd Rusby (1855-1940) an American botanist, who is often credited with the origins of economic botany in the US. Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley, 2010
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Max Licher  
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Max Licher  
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Max Licher  
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Max Licher  
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Max Licher  
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Zachery Berry  
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Daniel McNair  
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