Callirhoe bushii

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: Bush's poppy mallow 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Malvaceae
Native Range: Central United States
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Magenta
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Easily grown in dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Good drainage is essential. Avoid humusy, moisture retentive soils. Although many of the callirhoes (e.g., Callihhoe involucrata) require full sun, this plant will tolerate some light shade. Generally plants will spread in the garden, but will not root at stem nodes. Plants may be grown from seed and may self-seed in the garden in optimum growing conditions. Long tap root gives this plant good drought tolerance but makes transplanting of established plants difficult.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Callirhoe bushii, commonly called Bush’s poppy mallow, is an uncommon herbaceous perennial that is native to approximately 50 scattered locations in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. In Missouri, it is primarily found in rocky open woods, wooded valleys, ravine bottoms and glade borders in five counties in the southeast corner of the state (Steyermark). Plants typically grow 12-18” tall from a thick rootstock. Upward facing cup-shaped five-petaled, magenta flowers bloom in summer (June-August). Rambling flower stems are somewhat more erect than those of the similar C. involucrata. Stamens form a prominent central column typical of mallow family members. Leaves are palmately divided into 5-7 finger-like lobes. Synonymous with and formerly known as C. involucrata var. bushii and C. papaver var. bushii.

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

Specific epithet honors botanist Benjamin Franklin Bush (1858-1937).


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


Although uncommon in the wild, plants and seed are available from some nurseries, particularly ones specializing in native wildflowers. Plants form a good sprawling native ground cover. Border fronts, rock gardens, native plant gardens, wild gardens, naturalized areas or meadows. Sprawl over a stone wall. Fits well into both formal garden areas as well as wild/naturalized areas.