Also called streambank wild hollyhock mountain globemallow, this herbaceous perennial is in the mallow family, Malvaceae, that also includes okra, cotton, and hibiscus.  It is native to western North America east of the Cascade Range, from British Columbia and Alberta to Montana and south to Oregon, Colorado, and Nevada where it grows on sunny mountain streambanks, subalpine meadows, roadsides, and open forest slopes at altitudes of 4,500 to 11,000′ . Growing from a woody caudex, plants grow 3-6′ tall and have stout grooved stems carrying large, five to seven-lobed palmate leaves that are broadly heart-shaped and have toothed margins.  In summer loose to dense racemes of white to pink flowers 2′ across appear and each flower consists of five clawed  petals surrounding a central column of fused white stamen filaments, and style topped by head-shaped stigmas.    Plants can be used in beds and borders as well as informal sites such as meadows.  They flower profusely after a disturbance such as a wildfire but are quickly replaced by other vegetation.  Seeds can remain dormant for more than a century.   The genus name, Iliamna, is of unknown origin.  The specific epithet, rivularis,  comes from the Latin word rivus, meaning stream and refers to the common habitat of the plant.

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Racemes of white to pink 2″ wide flowers in summer

Size: 3-6′ H x 3-6′ W

Light:Full sun to light shade

Soil: Organically rich, evenly moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 4-8

Care: Remove rhizomes to control spread if desired.

Pests and Diseases:Rust, but less so than other species

Propagation:Seed, division

Companion Plants: Alpine sunflower, Rosey paintbrush, common fireweed, horsemint, mountain harebell

Photo Credit: Wikipedia


By Karen