Copper Globemallow (Sphaeralcea angustifolia)

I have been eating Copper Globemallow leaves since the Dog Head Forest Fire started. Finally, one started blooming for a photograph.

Copper Globemallow (Sphaeralcea angustifolia)

Copper Globemallow (Sphaeralcea angustifolia)

The smoke from the Dog Head fire is irritating my lungs and throat, so I go out a couple times a day to pick and eat leaves.

Young Copper Globemallow

Young Copper Globemallow

This photo shows more like what I am eating: young, tender plants that taste good.  As they get older the leaves have more fiber, but taste good even when blooming.

Smoke from a forest fire leaves particles in your lungs, known as bad nasty stuff.  Copper Globemallow also has  expectorant properties that helps cough the bad nasty stuff out.  It is also soothing my sore throat, is smooth and nice in my mouth, and even softens my lips. I will use it until the Dog Head Forest Fire goes out.  Feeding it to my dog and chickens too.  Little Guy won’t eat them unless lightly buttered.  Chickens eat anything.

Copper Globemallow is also healing for minor stomach and intestinal problems.  Dried leaves work also, but boil them 20-30 minutes.  I will dry some this year for my Pharmacopeia and maybe a winter lip balm.

I have been eating Copper Globemallow leaves as a salad herb for 20+ years in Texas and they are native to the southwest.  These are the effects that I knew about.

This is a 3 foot spike perennial with salmon colored blooms, but the flowers can be lavender, rose, or red.  It makes a flashy garden flower and attracts butterflies and bees.  It reminds me of hollyhocks, its cousin, and makes a similar vertical accent… up to 6 feet in a watered flowerbed.  Depending on your area, it blooms from February to November.  Here, Copper Globemallow blooms June to November.

As I build raised bed 8, I add mulch for the potato plants, which seems to encourage Copper Globemallow to come up between my potato plants.  You have to admire anything that grows with potatoes.

Turns out that Copper Globemallow, while also native to Mexico, is endangered because of its use as a medicinal plant.  Some of its active constituents are scopoletin, tomentin, sphaeralcic acid, mucilage, pectin, and asparagine.

Scopoletin is a coumarin that regulates blood pressure to normal, bringing high blood pressure down and low blood pressure up.  It is an effective antibacterial.  Scopoletin is an anti inflammatory used to treat bronchial illnesses and asthma (smoke inhalation too?).  Here is an amusing effect: scopoletin regulates serotonin to reduce anxiety and depression.  No wonder I am calmly going about preparing for evacuation.  More important, scopoletin inhibits cancer cells by inducing apoptosis, meaning they die normally instead of reproduce crazily.  It adjusts high cholesterol, triglyceride and glucose levels.

Tomentin is a coumarin that is anti inflammatory and reduces edema, or swelling of hands and feet.

Sphaeralcic acid is another anti inflammatory.  Aspargine is required for development and function of the brain and was first identified in asparagas.

In Mexico an extract of Copper Globemallow is made into a gel for rheumatism, and scientific tests later showed 91.3% improvement with no side effects.

Because Copper Globemallow is all over the dry Southwest, scientists tested it against alfalfa for wintering over goats.  It came out better than alfalfa for health and edibility.

I have eaten Copper Globemallow for years, in season.  I now find that dried leaves work as well medicinally.  If the Dog Head Forest Fire doesn’t burn me out, I will collect and Dr hang upside down to dry.  Its constituents do not extract well with methanol.  Instead, boil in water for 20-30 minutes.

No reference notes, but the leaves are pleasant tasting… would the pectin in them set fruit jelly when canning?  It would sure be healthy.  Just an inquiry for future testing.  It would be nice to can preserves without Market Economy pectin. Ah well, there are always apples… but Copper Globemallow produces better in New Mexico than apples.

There are more benefits to Copper Globemallow, but the Mallow (Malvaceae) family is widespread and you probably have several varieties living near you to check out.  My backyard has Scarlet Globemallow and Copper Globemallow, both awesome wonders.

I am not the only member of the food forest that likes Copper Globemallow, it is good wildlife browse, a nectar flower for bees and butterflies, host for the common checker skipper butterfly, birds and small mammals and I eat the seeds.  I more often sprout the seeds in winter… you know I love microgreens.

Essential oils are an entire additional arena, but I didn’t see anything specific to Copper Globemallow.  Another area to explore.

Did I mention beauty all summer?  No matter how harsh or dry it gets, Copper Globemallow blooms clear into fall.  Who would guess Copper Globemallow could beautify that old tater patch?!

 

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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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2 Responses to Copper Globemallow (Sphaeralcea angustifolia)

  1. tarnegolita says:

    How is it going with the forest fire..? Hope very much it isn’t getting to you xx

  2. Tarnegolita
    The fire is slowing down, an hour ago they posted 46% contained, including the northeast perimeter on my side. I am very relieved, and should be in the clear by the weekend. Hoping for rain by Thursday, that would be a relief… but rain forecasts can lead to less than 1/4 inch of water!

    They say smoke will be reduced today, nice. I think my risk is very low as of today. Yay!

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