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Sphaeralcea lobata

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#1 Andrea B.

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Posted 20 February 2021 - 18:57

Blum, A.G. (2021) Sphaeralcea lobata Wooten (Malvaceae). Flowers photographed in ultraviolet and visible light. https://www.ultravio...eralcea-lobata/

Spur Ranch Road, Eldorado at Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
22 July 2020

  • Sphaeralcea angustifolia (Cavanilles) G. Don var. lobata (Wooten) Kearney
  • Sphaeralcea angustifolia (Cavanilles) G. Don var. oblongifolia (Gray) Shinner
    This is the name under which S. lobata is found in many Floras.
  • Sphaeralcea fendleri forma lobata (Wooten) Cockerell
  • Sphaeralcea incana Torrey ex Gray var. cuneata Kearney
  • Sphaeralcea incana Torrey var. oblongifolia Gray
Common Name:
This plant seems to have no common name of its own because it is still considered by most Floras to be a variant of S. angustifolia, the Narrow-leaved Globemallow.

Like any good amateur botanist it is with some trepidation that I have attempted to identify my Sphaeralcea photos. Allred[1], in his introduction to the Sphaeralcea key, notes that "identification can be challenging" and that "some plants may not be assignable to a species with any degree of confidence". A crystal ball is also mentioned. "-)

Although formerly assigned to S. angustifolia var. oblongifolia[4], Allred[1] observes that S. lobata is markedly distinguished from that species by the grayish ovatish leaves which are 1-3 times longer than wide as opposed to the greenish linear-lanceolate leaves of S. angustifolia which are 4-10 times longer than wide. Also, Allred notes that S. lobata has more rounded basal lobes where S. angustifolia has sharply angled basal lobes. Currently, the Flora of North America Online does not recognize S. lobata as a separate Sphaeralcea species[3][4].

Using Allred's key and after looking at many other S. lobata photos, I feel at least semi-confident that my example is an S. lobata. Aside from S. angustifolia, other Sphaeralcea with which it might be reasonably confused do not grow in my county.

Like other Globemallows, in UV light the petals are a UV-light false yellow and the center and reproductive parts are UV-black. This particular example has a slightly paler orange visible petal color than cousins such as Scarlet Globemallow.

1. Allred, Kelly W., Jercinovic, Eugene M., Ivey, Robert DeWitt (2021) Flora Neomexicana III: An Illustrated Identification Manual, Second Edition, Part 2, Sphaeralcea Key, page 539. Print on demand at lulu.com.
2. SEINet Arizona-New Mexico Chapter (acc 20 Feb 2021) Sphaeralcea lobata. SEINet is a southwestern biodiversity organization making use of the Symbiota portal software.
3. Flora of North America Online (acc 20 Feb 2021) Sphaeralcea, Vol. 6. FNA, New York & Oxford.
4. Flora of North America Online (acc 20 Feb 2021) Sphaeralcea angustifolia (Cavanilles) G. Don var. oblongifolia (A. Gray) Shinners, Sida. 1: 384. 1964. , Vol. 6. FNA, New York & Oxford.

Spur Ranch Road, Eldorado at Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
22 July 2020

Equipment [Nikon D610-broadband + Nikon 105mm f/4.5 UV-Nikkor]

Visible Light [f/16 for 1/6" @ ISO-100 in ambient skylight with Baader UVIR-Block Filter]
This photo is a composite of two frames for increased depth of field.
Attached Image: sphaeralceaLobata_vis_ambient_20200722spurRanchRoad_22127pn01combo.jpg

Ultraviolet Light [f/16 for 20" @ ISO-200 with SB-14 UV-modified Flash and BaaderU UV-Pass Filter]
There are small amounts of false blue around the base of the petals.
Attached Image: sphaeralceaLobata_uvBaad_sb14_20200722spurRanchRoad_22137pn01.jpg

Tren Via and Avenida Eldorado, Eldorado at Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
22 July 2020

Visible Light [f/5 for 1/1250" @ ISO-100 in ambient skylight with Nikon Z + Nikkor Z 24-70 f/4S]
Note erect stems, slightly toothed leaves, flowers in axillary clusters and distal leaves.
Attached Image: sphaeralceaLobata_vis_sun_20200701trenViaElDora_1389pnRes.jpg

My attempt to show that these S. lobata leaves are approximately 3 times as long as wide.
Attached Image: sphaeralceaLobata_vis_sun_20200701trenViaElDora_1389leafProportions.jpg
Andrea G. Blum
Often found hanging out with flowers & bees.

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