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Purple Poppy Mallow

Purple Poppy Mallow
Callirhoe involucrata
(Order Malvales, Family Malvaceae)

Photo by David Sanchez, 2011

Diagnosis: Perennial from an elongate to napiform root.
Height: About 30 cm tall.
Stems: Mostly procumbent or decumbent, up to 70 cm long, more or less strigose or hirsute in addition to 4-rayed hairs.
Leaves: Leaf blades rounded, 5- to 7-cleft palmately or pedately to divided, the segments variously toothed, incised, lobed or parted, the ultimate divisions usually linear lanceolate or oblong, blades of principal cauline leaves 2.5-5 cm long, 3-6 cm wide, petioles equal to or longer than the blades; stipules persistent, mostly ovate, large, 5-15 mm long, 4-8 mm wide.
Inflorescences: solitary flowers, on stalks to 8 in. long, in leaf axils.
Flowers: solitary; peduncles 3-10 cm long, usually surpassing the leaves, occasionally with an articulation to 1 cm below the persistent involucel; involucel of 3 bracts, not noticeably separated from the calyx, bracts linear to lanceolate or oblanceolate, 6-15 mm long. Calyx divided to near base, calyx lobes lanceolate, 7-13 mm long, 3- to 5-nerved; corolla rose to purple, usually drying or fading to purple, 3-6 cm wide, petals 1.5-3 cm long; carpels 15-20, rugose, strigose, sometimes glabrous toward the summit, indehiscent, carpel beaks prominent, 1.0-1.5 mm tall.
Fruits: 3-5 mm tall, 8-10 mm wide.

Flowering Period: February - August.

Habitat: Open disturbed areas, pastures, prairies, and roadsides. Most abundant on dry, sandy soils.

Comments: Purple poppy mallow has a deep taproot and is drought resistant. The root is edible, and is said to taste similar to a sweet potato. Native Americans dug the roots and stored them for use as food in the winter. They also used them medicinally to treat colds and intestinal disorders. Sheep and deer will graze purple poppy mallow.

Conservation status: Not threatened.

Distribution: This species is widespread in Kansas (see It is widely distributed throughout the United States.  It is adventive in waste places (meaning that it has arrived in a geographical area by assisted means).

Video:  Roadside Part 2 of 9.

Illinois Wildflowers:
YouTube: Roadside Part 2 of 9:

Haddock, Michael John 2005. Wildflowers and Grasses of Kansas. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 104 pp.
Great Plains Flora Association 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 244 pp

Image Credits:
Callirhoe involucrata, close-up. Photo by David Sanchez, 2011.


Submitted by: David Sanchez, July, 2011.

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Generated on 2011. This website is continuously updated.
Comments can be sent to Mary Liz Jameson.
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