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Vascular Plants of California
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Alcea rosea

Higher Taxonomy
Family: MalvaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: 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).
Genera In Family: 266 genera, 4025 species: worldwide, especially warm regions; some cultivated (e.g., Abelmoschus okra; Alcea hollyhock; Gossypium cotton; Hibiscus hibiscus). Note: 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).
eFlora Treatment Author: Steven R. Hill, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Steven R. Hill, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: AlceaView Description 

Habit: Biennial, perennial herb. Stem: erect. Leaf: petiole long; blade +- palmate-lobed. Inflorescence: spike, raceme, in panicle or not; bractlets 5--11, fused at base, <= sepals. Flower: showy, > 3 cm, pink, white, red, purple or yellow; petals notched distally; anthers near top of filament tube, below; stigmas thread-like. Fruit: segments 16--40, falling from axis, indehiscent, each with an upper, empty chamber and a lower, 1-seeded chamber, beak 0.
Species In Genus: 60 species: eastern Mediterranean to central Asia. Etymology: (Greek: alke, remedy, or alce, strength; ancient name for this mallow)
Reference: Fryxell 1988 Syst Bot Monogr 25:68--70
Unabridged Reference: Zohary 1963 Israel J Bot 12:1--26
Alcea rosea L.
Stem: generally 1--2.5 m, generally unbranched, pithy; stellate-hairy, +- glabrous in age. Leaf: blade generally 7--15(20) cm, cordate or ovate to +- round, weakly palmate-5--7-lobed, stellate-hairy. Inflorescence: generally dense, generally branched in age; bracts generally not leaf-like; bractlets 6--9, <= sepals, widely triangular, fused at base. Flower: +- sessile, 8--10(12) cm diam; calyx tomentose; stigmas generally 20--40. Fruit: disk-like; segments 20--40, +- 6 mm, horseshoe-shaped, thin, flat, back channeled, winged, hairy. Chromosomes: 2n=42.
Ecology: Uncommon. Disturbed places; Elevation: especially < 1100 m. Bioregional Distribution: SnFrB, SW; Distribution Outside California: perhaps native to Asia Minor. Flowering Time: Jun--Aug Note: Occasionally escaped from cultivation.
Synonyms: Althaea rosea (L.) Cav.
Jepson eFlora Author: Steven R. Hill
Reference: Fryxell 1988 Syst Bot Monogr 25:68--70
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Alcea rosea

botanical illustration including Alcea rosea


Citation for this treatment: Steven R. Hill 2012, Alcea rosea, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, /eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=12392, accessed on February 22, 2020.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2020, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 22, 2020.

Alcea rosea
click for enlargement
© 2015 Neal Kramer
Alcea rosea
click for enlargement
© 2015 Neal Kramer
Alcea rosea
click for enlargement
© 2015 Neal Kramer
Alcea rosea
click for enlargement
© 2015 Neal Kramer
Alcea rosea
click for enlargement
© 2015 Neal Kramer
Alcea rosea
click for enlargement
© 2015 Neal Kramer

More photos of Alcea rosea in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Alcea rosea:
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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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All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).