Ontario Weeds: Musk mallow
Table of Contents
- Other Names
- General Description
- Stems and Roots
- Flowers and Fruit
- Similar Species
- Related Links
Musk mallow. A. Base of plant. B. top of flowering stem. C. Centre of flower showing several thread-like styles and stigmas protruding from the top of the central column of united stamens
Stems & Roots: Stems erect, 40-100cm
(16-40in.) high, rough-hairy.
Leaves: Leaves in basal tufts or rosettes and alternate (1 per node) on erect stems; rosette leaves and lowermost stem leaves long-stalked, shallowly lobed and with rounded teeth but never deeply dissected or divided; mid and upper stem leaves long-stalked to short-stalked or stalkles near the top, deeply cut or divided into 5 to 7 major segments, each segment with numerous, irregular, rounded or sharp teeth.
Flowers & Fruit: Flowers in clusters near the ends of the stem and upper branches, and on long stalks form the upper leaves; sepals forming a 5-lobed cup about 1cm (2/5in.) across; petals 5, united near their bases, white to rosy ot pale purple, each one triangular or somewhat heart-shaped, about 2.5cm (1in.) long so the flower is about 5cm (2in.) across; the filaments on the many stamens united into a thin erect column around the several styles and standing like a small peg about 10mm (2/5in.) high in the middle of hte flower; fruit a circle of slightly fused dry sections ("seeds") around a common centre, and usually enclosed by the persistent sepals after the petals fall. Flowers from late June until autumn.
Habitat: Musk mallow, once widely cultivated as an arnamental in perennial flower gardens, has escaped to roadsides, fields and waste places throughout most of southern Ontario.
Similar Species: It is ditinguished by its erect habit, its simple basal leaves and deeply divided stem leaves, its large 5-petaled flowers with many stamens united into a column in the centre of the flower, and its dry fruits arranged in a circle.
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