The Scarlet Globemallow, Sphaeralcea coccinea, is an early spring wildflower in West Texas. This native of the Great Plains is found in dry, limestone rich, sandy or gravelly soils. Its leaves are gray green and covered with silvery hairs, as seen here. Their leaves are distinctively shaped. Each leaf has a long stem and the leaf blade is divided into 3 parts all the way to the connection with the leaf stem. Furthermore, each leaflet has several, irregularly placed, large lobes or teeth along their margins.
Scarlet Globemallows make gorgeous little orange flowers that are easily spotted against the brown, drab grasslands of Spring. Other members of this species can produce a darker, brick-red or scarlet flower. Notice how their flowers tend to cluster at the end of a long upright stem. Scarlet Globemallow, also known as Caliche Globemallow, belongs to the Mallow family (Malvaceae) and is a perennial that blooms from late March to September. Deer and antelope eat this plant; and, its fruits and seeds are eaten by birds and small mammals. It is a valuable source of nectar to bees and other nectar feeding insects. You can read about its medicinal uses at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.