Gray Globemallow

Sphaeralcea incana

Other common name(s):

Soft Globe-Mallow


Malvaceae (Mallow Family)

Plant Ecoregion Distribution Map

Chihuahuan Deserts, Edwards Plateau
Chihuahuan Desert Grasslands, Chihuahuan Montane Woodlands, Low Mountains and Bajadas
Semiarid Edwards Plateau

Plant Characteristics

Growth Form

Herbaceous, Shrub





Leaf Retention




Habitat and Care Requirements

Soil Type(s)

Sand, Clay, Gravelly, Rocky, Well Drained, Moist, Dry

Light Requirement

Sun, Part Shade

Water Requirement

Low, Medium

Native Habitat


Bloom and Attraction

Bloom Color

Red, Pink, Orange

Bloom Season

Summer, Fall

Seasonal Interest

Nectar, Pollen

Wildlife Benefit

Butterflies, Nectar Insects, Bees


During the summer heat, water whenever the soil is dry to prolong blooms. Little to no watering is required during the cooler months. Blooms best in full sun. Sometimes forms loose colonies. Protect from grazers.


Blooms June-November. A subshrub with grayish-green foliage; pink, orange or red flowers and the stems covered in short scruffy hairs. New blossoms appear along the stem, with cup shaped flowers whenever sufficient rains occur. Of special importance to native bees. Butterflies are attracted to the flowers.
Previous Scientific Name(s): Synonym: Sphaeralcea incana ssp. incana


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About the Region

New Braunfels, the location of our Fall 2024 Symposium, straddles both the Edwards Plateau Ecoregion and the Blackland Prairie ecoregion. Interstate 35 divides the city of New Braunfels; its path through the city closely parallels the boundary of these two ecoregions, with the Edwards Plateau on the west side and the Blackland Prairies region to the east. The Edwards Plateau area is also called the Hill Country; however, this general term covers a much larger area extending farther north. Spring-fed creeks are found throughout the region; deep limestone canyons, rivers, and lakes (reservoirs) are common. Ashe juniper is perhaps the most common woody species found throughout the region. Additional woody species include various species of oak, with live oak (Quercus fusiformis) being the most common. Sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) and bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) border waterways. This area is well known for its spring wildflower displays, though they may be viewed in spring, late summer, and fall, as well. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, average annual rainfall in the Edwards Plateau ranges from 15 to 34 inches.

The Blackland Prairie extends from the Red River south to San Antonio, bordered on the west by the Edwards Plateau and the Cross Timbers, and on the east by the Post Oak Savannah. Annual rainfall averages 30 to 40 inches, with higher averages to the east. This region is dominated by prairie species. The most common grass species include little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) in the uplands and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) in the riparian areas and drainages. Common herbaceous flowering plants include salvias, penstemons, and silphiums. This area has suffered greatly from overgrazing and agricultural use. Few intact areas remain, though many of the plants can be found along county roadsides throughout the region.

Our four host chapters (New Braunfels, Lindheimer, Guadalupe, and the Hill Country chapters) are located in one or both of the ecoregions above. However, the eastern portion of Guadalupe County also falls within the Post Oak Savanna ecoregion. Annual rainfall averages 35 to 45 inches, with higher averages to the east. A wide variety of hardwood trees are found, including several species of oaks, elms, and in the Bastrop area, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). Grasses and forbs dominate in the open savannas, with most common grass being little bluestem. Ranching, agriculture, and fire suppression have allowed woody species to encroach on the once-open savannas.

Source: Wildflowers of Texas by Michael Eason