August 10, 2012

Sphaeralcea ambigua
Activate: Youthful radiance
Message: Feel beautiful and content in your skin.

Otherwise known as Globe Mallow, Desert Mallow is an exquisite wildflower that grows in the springtime in Arizona. They can also be found anywhere in the the Mojave and Sonoran deserts in Utah, California, Nevada and Baja Mexico. Desert Mallows are a yummy treat to Bighorn Sheep and goats.

desert mallow flowers LOTUSWEI flower essences

Desert Mallow flowers range from pink to apricot to fiery red orange. Some even have white, purple or bluish hues! The flowers are cup-like, and each stem has many flowers growing up from the stem all the way up to the top of the plant. They grow in 3-foot tall, 3- foot wide splashes of color that grow in all directions. The flowers have five petals and the blossoms brighten up whole hillsides with waves of color.

pink desert mallow flowers LOTUSWEI flower essences

Some other names for this flower are Desert Hollyhock and Sore-Eye Poppy. The latter name refers to the soft little hairs that are on the leaves, that can be an eye irritant. Seen under a microscope, the little hairs are star-shaped.

There are nine species of Desert Mallow in California and 16 in Arizona. Desert Mallow flowers belong to the larger genus family of Malvaceae (Mallow) family, in which you’ll find plants such as hollyhock, hibiscus, okra and cotton.

Desert Mallow leaves are soft & fuzzy to the touch, as are the leaves of other flowers in the mallow family too. The Doctrine of Signatures would indicate that mallows are good for soothing and healing the skin, because the leaves are soft. Have you heard of the Doctrine of Signatures? It’s one of the methods used by herbalists & plant medicine specialists to know what a specific plant remedies. Looking at the shape and texture of the flowers, leaves, fruit and whole plant you are able to identify indicators as to what part of the body it most benefits.

In food it’s quite simple to see how this plays out. Slice a carrot - it looks like an eye! Kidney beans look like their namesake and they nourish the kidneys. Walnuts look like a brain, and are said to help develop 36 different neurotransmitters. Pears, eggplant and avocados supports the uterus and the cervix. Scientists say that if a woman eats one avocado each week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight and prevents cervical cancers. And - it takes an avocado 9 months to grow!

In herbal medicine the Doctrine of Signatures was used to identify benefits of plants as well. Horsetail looks like bones and nerve fibers and is often included in tea formulas to build bones, teeth, skin, hair and other tissues. Euphrasia, or eyebright, flowers look a bit like eyes with long eyelashes, and are known for being one of the best remedies for eye conditions. A Ginseng root looks like a human being, and is used to heal the overall strength and condition of the entire body.

In flower essences you can see a similar trend: Bleeding Heart flowers heal the heart. The Mandevilla flower is for releasing attachment - when you look at the plant, it’s floral vines wrap around and attach to anything in proximity. Bamboo, though not a flower, is an essence for determination, perseverance and making the impossible possible - it is a tree-like grass that grows up to 3-4 feet each day!

The original advocate of the Doctrine of Signatures was a Swiss physician and medical professor by the name of: Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim. Thank goodness he changed his name to the Latin name: Paracelsus. According to him, “Nature marks each growth according to its curative benefit.”

Paracelsus was the same doctor that prescribed his patients dewdrops. When his patients experienced stress or emotional difficulties he asked them to seek out specific flowers and drink the dew from the top of the flower. This was the old way of gathering flower essences - lucky we’ve evolved since then!

It’s so dry in Arizona you’d have a hard time finding any dew on the Desert Mallow flowers. In springtime, when a breeze comes through, you’ll see all the Desert Mallow flowers swaying back and forth in the wind. In the video that’s on our homepage you can see a bunch of them around minute 2.40. That was shot at the very end of spring when they turn a bit brown with the orange flowers still hanging on. But all throughout the spring, you’ll see them vibrant and green with carpets of orange flowers in the valleys and along the roads driving north from the low desert into the high elevation desert of Arizona.

orange desert mallow flowers LOTUSWEI flower essences

In the backyard at our offices, we have a Desert Mallow bush that grew there in it’s wild way - without being planted. It sprouted up a couple years ago and now every spring it explodes into an enormous green and fiery orange bush.

My attention was first drawn to this flower when several years ago, I was commissioned by a private club spa to collect flower essences from their property that would be most needed and beneficial to their members. {Typically, flowers that grow in an area are those whose benefits are needed most by the people that are drawn to that place.}

I went flower collecting on two different occasions - on one of those the spa director, Sharon Narduzzi came with. We walked around and saw which flowers spoke to us. One of the flowers we loved was the orange Desert Mallow. Among the blossoming flowers were buds that looked like lipstick, reminding of a flushed pink face with darker lips ... kind of like when you’ve had a little exercise and are a bit flushed, you feel youthful and dewy and gorgeous.

Desert Mallow flower LOTUSWEI flower essences

Desert Mallow is a happy flower that’s seemingly understated and quiet. It’s a wildflower in the quiet desert - and sometimes it’s the discreet wildflowers that make the strongest impression.

Sometimes it is the soft touch or the soft voice that we remember most.

It’s leaves are silvery green & fuzzy soft to the touch. And soft is the effect that this flower has on us - very tender. It helps us be more sweet-tempered with ourselves and feel more beautiful. If you feel like dressing up one day, go for it! If you feel like taking more time for self-care, do it. Bask in the soft, gentle warmheartedness of this flower and of yourself during this time.

Experience the magic of Desert Mallow!



Desert Mallow flower elixir LOTUSWEI flower essences


Desert Mallow gives you a sense of your own beauty - or rather it shows you your own beauty - allowing you to see yourself in a new sparkly light. It magnifies a sense of youthful vitality and innocence and gives a youthful glow to the skin. It softens your heart and your character - you may find yourself responding to people in an extra compassionate way. More than anything it enhances your ability to love yourself and respond more gently with yourself. Desert Mallow helps you sit up taller, with more confidence, and it encourages deeper breathing. It also helps you see the fruits or benefits of staying in one place or environment. It’s not limited to a place - it can also help you see more clearly the benefits of focusing on doing one thing or working on one project for a while.

Desert Mallow dissolves anxiety, unrest and a desire to run, along with dizziness, shallow breathing or jaw tension. It helps you see where you are being to harsh with yourself or others, and is the antidote for when you feel ‘old’ or somewhat jaded. It softens any rough edges of your character, behavior or self-talk, and shows you the power of gentle, joyful acceptance and warmheartedness.


Love + flower petals, 

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.