Callirhoe alcaeoides

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: prairie poppy mallow
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Malvaceae
Native Range: South central and eastern United States
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: White to pink to pale lilac
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Easily grown in dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Avoid wet, poorly drained soils. Plants are easily grown from seed and may self-seed in the garden in optimum growing conditions. Long taproot gives plant good drought tolerance but makes transplanting of established plants difficult.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Callirhoe alcaeoides, commonly called poppy mallow, is an erect to sometimes sprawling, slender-stemmed perennial which is native to dry rocky or sandy soils in plains and barrens from Illinois to Nebraska south to Texas and Alabama, including parts of the central and southern Great Plains. In Missouri, it is typically found in prairies, roadsides, grassy open areas and waste ground in scattered locations throughout the State (Steyermark). This poppy mallow typically grows to 12-20" tall. Cup-shaped, upward-facing, poppy-like, 5-petaled flowers (to 2.5” wide), which lack underlying bracts, bloom from the leaf axils over a long May to August period. Flowers are usually solitary, but sometimes appear in small clusters. Flowers are white, light pink or pale lilac, but never in darker shades of rose-wine to purple which are the colors of the similar Callirhoe involucrata. Upper leaves (to 2-3" long) are palmately divided into 5-7 lobed segments. Ovate lower leaves have shallower lobes.

Genus name honors the daughter of a minor Greek deity, Achelous, a river god.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Crown rot may occur in poorly drained soils.

Garden Uses

Dryish, sunny sites in border fronts, rock gardens, native plant gardens, wild gardens, prairies, naturalized areas or meadows. Sprawl over a stone wall. Use as an edger. Fits well into both formal garden areas as well as wild/naturalized areas.