Sphaeralcea munroana and Sphaeralcea parvifolia are difficult to distinguish and may be conspecific. Sphaeralcea parvifolia is more southern and smaller overall; Sphaeralcea munroana is more northern and more robust[
Sphaeralcea species are somewhat difficult to identify. The species boundaries are not always sharp because there is frequent hybridization, polyploidy, and morphological variation in response to environmental conditions, particularly rainfall. Plants growing in Arizona are particularly difficult to identify[
Malva creeana Graham
Malva munroana Douglas ex Lindl.
Malvastrum munroanum (Douglas ex Lindl.) A.Gray
Malveopsis munroana (Douglas ex Lindl.) Kuntze
Nuttallia munroana (Douglas ex Lindl.) Nutt.
Sphaeralcea creeana (Graham) Sprague & Sandwith
Sphaeralcea subrhomboidea Rydb.
Common Name: Munro's Globemallow
Sphaeralcea munroana is an erect, perennial plant growing from a woody taproot with stems that become more or less woody and can persist; it can grow 25 - 90cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and source of materials. A very attractive plant, it is sometimes grown as an ornamental, growing well in containers[
The hairs on the leaves can cause irritation to some people[
Western N. America - British Colombia and Montana, south to California, Nevada and Utah
Xeric plains and slopes; at elevations from 100 - 2,300 metres[
|Other Uses Rating
Sphaeralcea munroana is often found in semi-arid environments, growing in areas where the mean annual rainfall can range from 150 - 380mm. It is very cold tolerant, succeeding in hardiness zone 4[
] but, like many species with downy leaves, it is not very tolerant of winter wet and will often fail to overwinter in mild but wet winter areas[
Requires a sunny position, succeeding in a range of well-drained soils from rocky and sandy to heavy clays[
When growing the plant as an ornamental, it is best to cut the stems back to ground level each winter[
Sphaeralcea species are good sources of mucilage in the form of mucopolysaccharide starches. This has been shown to stimulate macrophage activity and help promote healing and resistance, especially in the skin, upper intestinal tract, urinary tract and lungs[
The whole plant is demulcent and emollient[
]. Taken internally, it can be used to soothe sore throats and irritations along the digestive tract, urinary tract etc. Applied externally, it can be used to soothe and promote healing of cuts, burns, wounds etc[
The plant is a rich source of mucilage. An infusion is often used as a hair rinse after shampooing, when it is said to give the hair body. A strong infusion will curl the hair if it is not rinsed out[
The plant is pounded in water until it makes a gummy paste - this is applied over the rough, inner surfaces of earthenware dishes[
Seed - it has a hard seed coat and benefits from either autumn sowing or scarification of stored seed[
]. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing.
Softwood cuttings in a frame in early summer[