Plant Profile: Purple Poppy Mallow (Callirhoe involucrata)
Native to the fields and prairies of central US, this mat-forming herbaceous perennial is a member of the mallow family, Malvaceae, that also includes hollyhock, hibiscus, and coffee. It grows 6-12″ tall from a tap root and has sprawling stems carrying orbicular, palmately-divided leaves that are 4″ across, coarsely toothed, and have 5-7 finger-like lobes. From late spring into fall, solitary cup-shaped magenta flowers appear on slender stems above the foliage. The upward-facing flowers are are 1.5-2.5″ across and have a column of stamens with unique style branches, surrounded by 5 broad petals that are often white near the base. Suitable for both a formal garden and naturalized areas, purple poppy mallow is a good choice for a groundcover and border, as well as rock, wildflower,native plant, meadow, and wall gardens. The genus name, Callirhoe, honors the daughter of a minor river god in Greek mythology. The specific epithet, involucrata, is the Latin word meaning having an involucre, a ring of bracts surrounding several flowers.
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Bloom: Cup-shaped, magenta flowers 1.5-2.5″ across from late spring into fall
Size: 6-12′ H x 6-36″ W
Light: Full sun;tolerates some shade
Soil: Average, dry to medium moist, well-drained
Hardiness: Zones 4-8
Care: Low maintenance
Pests and Diseases: None of significance but crown rot can be a problem in poorly drained soil.
Propagation: Seed; plants do not transplant well because of taproot
Companion Plants:Rock purslane, purple prairie clover, sundrop, Artemisia ‘Silver Brocade’, yucca, dwarf spurges, sedums