This was planted in the mission gardens by the Fathers and is now common around San Francisco. It is a branching shrub, from six to fifteen feet high, with a twisted, gray trunk and large handsome leaves, light green and very soft and smooth to the touch, paler and downier on the under side. The flowers are handsome and conspicuous, two or three inches across, with bright pink petals, warm and rich in tone, beautifully striped with maroon and shading to yellowish-white towards the center, with a purple pistil and grayish anthers. The flowers and seed-vessels hang on curved pedicels, like pipe-stems, giving a rather odd effect. The leaves and twigs are very mucilaginous.
There are many kinds of Sphaeralcea, much like Mal-vastrum, except that they have two or three ovules, instead of one, in each cavity of the ovary. The name is from the Greek, meaning "globe-mallow," in allusion to the usually roundish fruit.