Scarlet Globemallow (Sphaeralcea coccinea)

On my way in today I checked my Scarlet Globemallow to see if it ready for cutting to dry for winter use. It rained so it is still too damp. Raining again right now so maybe in a day or two.

Scarlett Globemallow is also called Yerba de La Negrita and readily available dried online and in Mexican Markets. I have so much of it in all my native wildflower beds (read unwatered) that every fall I take scissors outside and cut enough to dry as my winter supply.

The Malvaceae family is widespread and are mostly edible and medicinal. This particular one is the best hair conditioner I have ever used (including market economy vatieties).  It makes my hair seem thick and full-bodied.  I have natural wave in my hair and if I leave the conditioner in I get more curl.

At night I generally put a spoon of dried leaves in an 8 ounce cup and pour boiling water over it and leave it to steep until morning.  After washing my hair in the morning I strain the leaves and pour the tea over my hair and rub it in.  I let it drip out then towel dry.

Do not use a light colored towel because it will stain.  I have navy blue towels that work well.  Style normally.  As with any product, skin test before use and quickly rinse if irritation occurs.  It does darken your hair a little, mine becomes a richer auburn so it does not remove my natural red.  It will tone down brassiness and make dyed hair more natural looking.  I have no clue what it would do to blue purple pink hair!

This is a beautiful addition to flower beds with its orange-red flowers.  Keep it up front because it is short.  Or let it wind through beds and allow the vivid orange-red flowers to peek through like my beds.  No watering necessary at my house, and it grows in sunny spots all the way up my dry hill.

Mine rarely get more than 6 inches tall but it can get 18 inches or so with more water and richer soil.  It blooms all summer, so let it set seeds in the fall before cutting for drying.  Sprinkle the seeds around where you want it to grow.  I let it come up anywhere it chooses and it even blooms well under my evergeens.

Scarlet Globemallow is a traditional First Nations and Mexican medicinal plant that is still used.  As always, take care with any medicinal and watch for allergic reactions.

It attracts butterflies and hosts a couple species of butterfly larva.  They lay eggs on the backs of the leaves and I try not to disturb them.  I suspect mine are the Small Checkered Skipper because I see the adults.  Keeping host plants for butterflies is critical for their survival since butterflies are very specific about where they lay eggs.

I watch birds eats the seeds in the winter so it also supports birds that winter over in my area.

Part of this plant’s use in my Food Forest is as a food source for pollinators who need food sources for the whole season.  Honey bees need a lot of sources to produce honey for their hive and extra for you.

For me it’s primary use is beauty because it blooms for about 4 months, but by the end of summer and before the first snow I am thinking hair conditioner.   I also know that it feeds my birds and pollinators and keeps them working full time on my five acres. If you don’t feed the help, they move on.

Beauty may seem extraneous for a Food Forest… but it builds contentment.

I cannot imagine my circular economy working as well without this small beauty.


About rebeccatreeseed

I am a naturalist raised by naturalists. Treeseed is my earned name, while Rebecca is my birth name. I am of Northern European descent, with a quarter Irish.quarter thrown in. I suspect I was a product of northern invaders into Ireland into Ireland. but hard to say since DNA disproved the family story about Apache blood! I have found some odd ancestors to replace them. Last year I bought 5 acres of pinyon-juniper forest on the side of a mountain in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. I am fulfilling a lifetime dream of a cabin in the mountains and a food forest that will feed me and local wildlife. I want to share this new phase of my life with others that might be interested.
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