Federal and State Listed Species of Texas:
Texas poppy-mallow only occurs in the Rolling Plains of Texas in Coke, Mitchell, Runnels, and Scurry counties.
Texas poppy-mallow is an erect perennial with a stem and taproot that, respectively, grow up or down to 1 m. All green parts of the plant are covered with a dense layer of branched, star-like hairs, except for the fruit, which has a thinner layer of unbranched hairs. The star-like microscopic hairs split into about eight radiating arms. The lower leaves (4-6.5 cm long, 3.8-7 cm wide) form a rosette, are more or less circular in outline and shallowly lobed. Leaves on the stems are of similar shape but slightly smaller (4.2-5 cm long, 5.5-6.2 cm wide), with 3 or 5 deep, blunt lobes, and smooth leaf edges (usually not toothed). The 5-petaled, red-wine colored flower is 3-4 cm tall and 1.4-2 cm across and resembles a wine cup. Below the flower are two green, leaf-like structures. The upper structure cups the flower base and has five pointed lobes. Below this is a whorl of 1-3 very narrow, leaf-like structures, which are 0.7-1.4 mm wide. Texas poppy-mallow fruit is 7.8-11.9 mm in diameter and composed of usually 12-17 sections. When dry, the sections fall apart, releasing the seeds. The black seeds are kidney-shaped.
Woodland poppy-mallow (Callirhoe leiocarpa) has hairs with four arms and lacks the second (lower) whorl of very narrow, leaf-like structures under the flower. Winecup (Callirhoe involucrata) has trailing stems (rather than erect) and is a shorter plant (≤60 cm tall) compared to Texas poppy-mallow. The lower surfaces of the winecup leaves have star-like hairs and mostly unbranched hairs on the upper surfaces of the leaves.
Texas poppy-mallow occurs in grasslands or shrublands along terraces of the upper Colorado River in very deep sandy soils.
Life Cycle Events
Flowering occurs from May to June. The above-ground portion of the plant dies back in mid-summer and a rosette forms in very late summer with stems bolting in the spring.
Although recognizable anytime the rosette is present, Texas poppy-mallow is most visible while in bloom, May to June. In extreme drought, all above ground parts may be absent or very stunted.
In addition to the extremely small geographic area where the plant grows, the seeds stay close to the parent plant, are short-lived, and most do not sprout. These facts along with the overwhelming preference for deep sandy soils severely limit numbers and populations of the Texas poppy-mallow.