Ajuntament de Barcelona

Phymosia umbellata

Miramar Garden and Camí dels Cims

    Catalan name: 
    Spanish name: 
    English name: 
    Mexican bush mallow
    Botanical synonyms: 
    Malva umbellata, Sphaeralcea umbellata, Sphaeroma umbellatum
    Species characteristics
    Humid perennial forests and deciduous forests

    Perennial sturdy shrub 60 cm-2.5 m tall, although it can reach 6 m, very few ramified. The stems are tomentose (covered by hair making a kind of down).

    The alternate and big leaves (6-15 cm long) are palmately lobed and have a long petiole. The upper side is green and the lower side has a rough texture and prominent nervation.

    The flowers appear into axillary umbels that are composed of up to 4 flowers (usually, 3) and have a long peduncle. The bell-shaped calyx has 5 oval pointed lobes. The corolla, up to 4 cm, is alsobell-shaped and is composed of reversed heart-shaped petals 2-3.5 cm long; they are violet, scarlet or purple, with white base.

    The fruits, 2-2.5 cm in diameter, take to pieces when ripe and the small fruits that come out open into two valves containing kidney-shaped seeds about 3 mm long.

    Flowering time: 
    Fruiting time: 
    Next to blossoming
    Uses and properties: 

    Bushmallow is used in gardening for decoration purposes both because of its leaves as well as its flowers.

    History and curiosities: 

    The scientific name, Phymosia umbellata, consists of the genus name Phymosia, coming from the Greek word φύμα, “tuber”, and the Latin term umbellata, “in umbella”.

    The plant was described for the first time by the Valencian botanist and naturalist Antoni Josep Cavanilles i Palop (1745-1804) with the scientific name Malva umbellata.

    There are a few samples in Barcelona.

    For further information: 

    LÓPEZ GONZÁLEZ, Ginés A. Los árboles y arbustos de la Península Ibérica e Islas Baleares. (2 vol.) Madrid: Mundi-Prensa, 2001