Malvaceae (Mallow Family)
The best known cultivated members of Malvaceae are the Hollyhock and the Hibiscus. Europe has contributed various weedy members of the genus Malva, but few of the exotic or aliens have been known to cause much problem.
The flowers of Malvaceae have 5 separate petals, usually rolled together in the bud stage, and a 5-lobed calyx. The numerous stamens join their filaments to form a tube around the pistil. The anthers may be at the top of the tube or distributed along its length. The pistil has several seed-producing divisions, and these break apart when the fruit has ripened and dried.
On Montara Mountain, Malvaceae is represented by the Checkerbloom (Sidalcea malvaeflora), also known as the Wild Hollyhock or Checker Mallow.
Flowers: Pale-to-bright pink, often with white, lacey veins. 5 squared off and slightly notched petals, 1 - 2 inches across; clustered along stem.
Blooms: March - June.
Leaves: Lower leaves rounded with 7-9 very shallow lobes, higher ones deeply cut and lobed; hairy.
Location: Dry, grassy trails. Gray whale cove, lower bluffs.
Status: Native - Common.
A good example of a paler, lacier variation. In this picture, and the one at upper right, the flower is fully developed and laden with pollen.
A freshly opened blossom shows the spiral pattern of the developing anthers.
Further description & Comment: 1 - 2 ft tall, sprawling with hairy stems. It's distinctively shaped petals and their lace-like texture makes this plant easy to identify when in bloom.
The image at left shows the lobed and hairy lower leaves of Sidalcea malvaeflora, as well as the opening phase of the flower.
Photo at left by Bill and Barbara VanderWerf
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