Callirhoe involucrata (T. & G.) A. Gray

Callirhoe involucrata plant

Family - Malvaceae

Stems - Procumbent to ascending or sprawling, hirsute and with stellate hairs, scabrous, herbaceous, to +80cm long, purplish below, green above, from a taproot.

Callirhoe involucrata stem

Leaves - Alternate, petiolate, stipulate. Stipules auriculate, clasping, to 2cm long, 2cm broad, ovate or lanceolate, glabrous, with ciliate margins. Petioles to +10cm long, reduced upward, hirsute and stellate pubescent, strigose, weakly 3-sided. Blade palmately 3-5-lobed, to +/-15cm broad. Lobes often divided again. Ultimate divisions entire, acute, strigose above and below with some stellate pubescence below.

Callirhoe involucrata leaf

Inflorescence - Single axillary flowers on long(+15cm) peduncles. Peduncles hirsute, strigose. Flowers closely subtended by 3 linear-oblong bracts. Bracts ciliate-margined, +/-2cm long, with involute margins, not distinctly separated from calyx.

Flowers - Corolla +6cm in diameter. Petals 5, deep rose-pink with white at very base, free for most of length but united to stamen column, +3cm long, +2cm broad, glabrous, blunt to emarginate at apex. Stamen column 1.3cm tall(long). Filaments deep rose-pink. Anthers pale yellow. Styles 1cm long, deep rose-pink, at first hidden by stamen column. Ovary of 15-20 carpels in a ring to 5mm in diameter. Calyx deeply 5-lobed. Tube to 3mm long. Lobes to -2cm long, lanceolate but involute in upper half, with prominent white venation, hirsute to pilose, greenish near apex, purplish-green near base, ciliate-margined, tomentose internally near base. Fruit ring to 10mm broad, 1 seed per carpel.

Callirhoe involucrata calyxCalyx and subtending bracts.

Callirhoe involucrata flower

Flowering - March - August.

Habitat - Prairies, open woods, roadsides, railroads.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This is a striking plant with bright flowers which only last a day and then dry to a more purple color. It is gaining popularity in cultivation and is easy to grow.
Like I've mentioned before, this family typically has flower parts in multiples of five, (the carpels, for example), and that along with the recognition of the stamen column is a good way to start recognizing the family.

Photographs taken in the Ozark Scenic Riverways, Shannon County, MO., 7-8-03.


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