2007 Kansas Wildflower of the Year
Purple Poppy Mallow
Callirhoe involucrata (T. & G.) A. Gray
Text by Dr. Stephen L. Timme
Purple Poppy Mallow (also called Wine Cups), in the Malvaceae (Mallow Family), is a low growing, somewhat sprawling plant, generally with the ends of branches erect.
The root is thick and relatively deep in the soil.
The leaves are palmately (palm-like or hand-like) divided into 5-7 segments, the segments toothed, parted, or lobed, petiolate (with a petiole = leaf stalk) and wider (to about 4 inches) than long (to about 3 inches).
The flowers are solitary, rose to purple, and are generally above the leaves, with peduncles (leaf stalk) to 4 inches long or longer. Calyx of five sepals; petals 5, to 1 inch or more long; stamens forming a column that surrounds the ovary (at maturity the fruit containing seeds) and style (the stalk-like structure arising from the apex of the ovary).
The fruit is called a schizocarp, which is a dry at maturity and splits into segments containing seeds.
This species is found from the upper Midwest south into northern Mexico, and west to Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico. It grows in dry prairies, prairie roadsides, and open woods. As far as known, its only economic value is as an ornamental.