The Desert Five Spot

The desert five-spot, one of the most beautiful flowers that grows in the desert, now bears the scientific name of Eremalche rotundifolium.  Formerly, it was known as the  Malvastrum rotundifolium.
The desert five spot is present in the Mojave Desert and ranges to the Sonoran Desert of  southern Nevada and western Arizona. It is rarely seen at elevation above 4,000 feet.
It prefers sandy or rocky areas of dry, open desert bajadas, washes, mesas and flats as its habitat.
The desert five spot has pink to purple globes with 5 petals open at the top.
The leaves are round-reniform and crenate up to 2-1/2 inches wide, and the pink to lavender bowl-shaped flowers have 5 petals each with a dark red spot near the base.  The calyx is stellate-hispid with ovate acuminate sepals.
It blooms March through May. Inside, the center is creamy with 5 deep, purple blotches surrounding many stamens. The 5 “spots” actually occur at the base of each petal. The flowers open in the afternoon and close at night.
The desert five-spot is an  annual herb, a member of the Mallow family (Malvaceae), which  grows 4 to 24 inches high. Its sparse leaves are round to heart-shaped, with scalloped margins up to 2 inches wide. The color of the leaves is green and often red with short, bristly hairs.
When light passes through the delicate petals of the flower, the globe resembles a glowing lantern. For this reason, the desert five-spot is also known as the lantern flower and Chinese lantern.

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