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Steven R. Hill, except as noted

Annual to tree; generally with stellate hairs, often with bristles or peltate scales; juice generally mucilage-like; bark fibrous. Leaf: generally cauline, alternate, petioled, simple [palmate-compound], generally palmate-lobed and/or veined, generally toothed, evergreen or not; stipules persistent or not. Inflorescence: head, spike, raceme, or panicle, in panicle or not (a compound panicle), or flowers >= 1 in leaf axils, or flowers generally 1 opposite a leaf or on a spur; bracts leaf-like or not; bractlets 0 or on flowering stalks, often closely subtending calyx, generally in involucel. Flower: generally bisexual, radial; sepals 5, generally fused at base, abutting in bud, larger in fruit or not, nectaries as tufts of glandular hairs at base; petals (0)5, free from each other but generally fused at base to, falling with filament tube, clawed or not; stamens 5–many, filaments fused for most of length into tube around style, staminodes 5, alternate stamens, or generally 0; pistil 1, ovary superior, stalked or generally not, chambers generally >= 5, styles or style branches, stigmas generally 1 or 1–2 × chamber number. Fruit: loculicidal capsule, [berry], or 5–many, disk- or wedge-shaped segments (= mericarps).
266 genera, 4025 species: worldwide, especially warm regions; some cultivated (e.g., Abelmoschus okra; Alcea hollyhock; Gossypium cotton; Hibiscus hibiscus). [Angiosperm Phylogeny Group 1998 Ann Missouri Bot Gard 85:531–553] Recently treated to include Bombacaceae, Sterculiaceae, Tiliaceae. Mature fruit needed for identification; "outer edges" are surfaces between sides and back (abaxial surface) of segment. "Flower stalk" used instead of "pedicel," "peduncle," especially where both needed (i.e., when flowers both 1 in leaf axils and otherwise). —Scientific Editors: Steven R. Hill, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Unabridged references: [Alverson et al. 1999 Amer J Bot 86:1474–1486; Bayer et al. 1999 Bot J Linn Soc 129:267–303; Hill 2009 Madroño 56:104–111]

Key to Malvaceae

Annual, perennial herb; with taproot, clustered fleshy roots, caudex, adventitious roots, or occasionally shallow rhizome. Stem: ± decumbent or generally erect, some occasionally stolon-like; erect stem, branches terminating in inflorescence. Leaf: generally fewer above, occasionally ± rosetted; petioles below generally >> petioles above; blades below generally crenate to shallowly lobed, blades above often deeply palmate-lobed or -divided; stipules generally persistent. Inflorescence: head, spike, or raceme, in panicle or not, generally more open in fruit; bracts 2, generally stipule-like, occasionally involucre-like, united at base to ± entirely; bractlets 0(3), generally not in involucel. Flower: flowers generally bisexual, protandrous, occasionally functionally unisexual (occasionally, plants with either bisexual or pistillate flowers in a given sp.); calyx lobes >= tube; petals spreading or erect, purple or rose-pink to white, generally with some pale veins, base generally also paler than tips (occasionally darker), tip ± notched or fringed, petals on pistillate flowers shorter, darker, often <= 10 mm; filament tube generally stellate-puberulent, anthers near top, in generally 2 concentric series, generally pink, ± purple, or white; stigmas linear, on inner side of style branches, conspicuous in pistillate flowers. Fruit: segments generally 5–10, indehiscent, puberulent, glandular, or glabrous, beaked or not, side walls generally ± thin. Seed: 1, generally filling chamber, reniform, glabrous.
± 27 species: western North America: Alaska, Canada, to Mexico. (Greek: combination of Sida, Alcea, 2 other names for mallows) [Andreasen & Baldwin 2003 Amer J Bot 90:436–444; Hill 2008 J Bot Res Inst Texas 2:783–791] Some species highly variable, especially in leaves, growth stage; mature plants with fruit minimize considerable problems in identification, as does knowledge of plant base, underground parts; needs study.
Unabridged references: [Hitchcock 1957 Univ Washington Publ Biol 18:1–96; Fryxell 1988 Syst Bot Monogr 25:412–416]
Unabridged note: This treatment differs from that in TJM (1993) in addition of new taxa and in segregation as species of former, primarily inland subspecies of Sidalcea malviflora, now primarily a coastal entity.

Key to Sidalcea

S. gigantea G.L. Clifton et al. GIANT CHECKERBLOOM
Perennial herb matted in patches; rhizomes to 40–60 cm, (0.5)1 cm diam; bristles 2.5 mm, reflexed, in age 0. Stem: erect, (1)1.5–2(2.5) m, diam 10–14 mm, occasionally glaucous, generally ± purple, hollow below, densely coarsely bristly, hairs 1.5–2 mm, reflexed, stellate hairs few above. Leaf: basal generally 0, cauline gradually reduced upward, stellate-puberulent; petioles below generally 10–14 cm, tip curved with swollen part 5–6 mm; blades below (6.5)11–12 cm, 10–13 cm wide, lowest rounded, 4–5-lobed, upper deeply 5-lobed; stipules deciduous (3.5)5 mm, ± 0.7 mm wide. Inflorescence: spike-like raceme, in panicle or not, 14–18 cm, glaucous, sparsely stellate-hairy, flowers 10–20, spaced; bracts ± >= flowering stalks; flowering stalks 2(5) mm, stout, stellate-canescent. Flower: pistillate or bisexual, on separate plants; calyx 5–6 mm, to 8 mm in fruit, densely stellate-puberulent, faint-veined; petals pale pink, pistillate 7–9 mm, bisexual 10–17(25) mm; filament tube 5.5–8 mm. Fruit: segments (6)7–8, ± 3 mm, back, outer edges net-veined-honeycombed, back grooved, top sparsely glandular-stellate-puberulent, beak ± 1 mm, tip puberulent. Seed: ± 1.5 mm, dark brown, smooth, glabrous.
Moist to wet forested slopes, seeps, stream margins, meadows, mid to upper conifer forest; (640)900–1650 m. High Cascade Range, n High Sierra Nevada. Jul–Sep [Online Interchange]
Unabridged note: Confused with Sidalcea celata, Sidalcea asprella; needs study. Plants in drier or more disturbed areas sometimes short; most large patches clonal; expanded author citation: Sidalcea gigantea G.L. Clifton, R.E. Buck & S.R. Hill

Previous taxon: Sidalcea elegans
Next taxon: Sidalcea glaucescens


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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 28 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Sidalcea, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 28 2015

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Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Sidalcea gigantea Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.