Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Arrowleaf mallow

with 33 comments

Arrowleaf Mallow Flower 9384

On the grounds of old Fort Davis on November 20 I found this little wildflower. Thanks to Prof. Michael Powell of Sul Ross State University in Alpine for confirming that it’s an arrowleaf mallow, Malvella sagittifolia. Below is a view at a different angle of a second specimen I found nearby.

Arrowleaf Mallow Flower 9390

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 12, 2015 at 4:37 AM

33 Responses

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  1. ¡Qué maravilla! Es una bellísima flor que tu has sabido fotografiar muy bien.
    Saludos y buen fin de semana!

    Isabel F. Bernaldo de Quirós

    December 12, 2015 at 6:25 AM

  2. Wow, what a beauty, love the blushing “cheeks” effect is super sweet!


    December 12, 2015 at 6:46 AM

    • If the flower in the first picture is blushing, then the one in the second picture has cheeks on fire.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 12, 2015 at 9:24 AM

  3. Before we get too deep into the holiday season, I want to thank you for the glorious photographs you have magically popped into my mailbox every day. It brings joy to me to see plants and sometimes animals that have only been seen through your eyes. Such a special treat! They can then dance upon my “inward eye” and bring me pleasure. I have learned a great deal about photography from you. I went yesterday to the US Botanic Garden to see replicas of D.C.’s most famous buildings made of plant material. I also saw many cactus, succulents, and orchids. I snapped some with my phone camera and as I did, I posed the question of what Steve would do with the plants. I actually made some nice cactus photos that look like they were discovered on a trail somewhere. Thank you for caring about showing native plants at their very best and for having a great website where we can see them and revisit them when we want. What a special gift to your viewers! I often share a daily photo with a friend or two who also get joy from them. Wishing you a healthy and prosperous new year and many opportunities for photographing.


    December 12, 2015 at 6:54 AM

    • Thanks for your testimonial, Dianne. I appreciate it. More things exist out there in nature—even in Austin, much less the rest of the world—than I can ever record, but I do my part for “the cause.”

      May your inward eye keep having happy visions, and may your outward eyes do likewise.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 12, 2015 at 9:44 AM

  4. I can see where it gets its name from! And such a pretty, delicate flower with that gorgeous bleed from deep fuchsia to palest ballerina pink. xx


    December 12, 2015 at 7:28 AM

    • I like the way you described the “gorgeous bleed from deep fuchsia to palest ballerina pink.” Never having seen this flower before (or since), I don’t know if the paler pink eventually turns more saturated and darker.

      The arrowhead-shaped leaves have an unusual mottled appearance that prompted an earlier species name of leprosa.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 12, 2015 at 10:01 AM

  5. Such delicate color and form!
    And I second the sentiments above about being greeted each day by a little ambassador of beauty.

    Marcia Levy

    December 12, 2015 at 7:29 AM

  6. I do like mallows, and this is a new one to me. Just look at those cool leaves.

    Melissa Pierson

    December 12, 2015 at 8:04 AM

    • This was a new one for me, too. I just mentioned in my reply to a previous comment that the arrowhead-shaped leaves have an unusual mottled appearance that prompted an earlier species name of leprosa.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 12, 2015 at 10:03 AM

  7. How appropriate that you’re showing this now, under the sign of Sagittarius (November 23 to December 21). You came very close to taking the photo under the same sign: not important, but a fun coincidence.

    The color in the second photo is lovely, but I much prefer the first. The arrangement of petals and leaves suggests movement: perhaps a rising wind. And the colors are so unusual. Whether it’s shadow, desiccation, or a natural characteristic of the flower, the combination of pink and gray is one I don’t remember ever seeing. Even if it’s just my monitor, it’s wonderful — a floral reminder of the 1950s, when pink and gray were quite the thing.


    December 12, 2015 at 8:41 AM

    • It just occurred to me that a sagittary thought must be a sharp one.

      I expect the gray you’re seeing on the flower is the somewhat shadowed white of some petals turned at various angles to the light source, rather than an intrinsic characteristic (but your monitor may enhance the grayness). I noticed that the leaves and stems also have a slightly grayish quality to their green.

      Your mention of movement and wind reminds me that it was a bit breezy out there on the grounds of the fort that morning. One of the rangers told me that the soldiers made their original encampment between two sections of rocks and cliffs lining the site, but once cooler weather came the wind blew through there and made the soldiers miserable. After that experience the encampment got moved out onto the flats.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 12, 2015 at 10:22 AM

    • Speaking of colors in the 1950s: how about those two-tone cars that were all the rage back then? I can almost see the hill of the previous post as a two-tone streamlined sedan.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 12, 2015 at 7:18 PM

      • Now that you mention it, I can see that, too. And I laughed at the tale of the soldiers between the rocks. That’s the breezeway effect, for sure. It reminded me of Susan’s series of posts on John Ashbery’s “Breezeway” poems, most of which made me feel like moving out to the flats.


        December 12, 2015 at 9:39 PM

        • I don’t believe I’d heard the phrase “breezeway effect” but I’m familiar with the phenomenon. People in Manhattan (where I once used to hang out) know how the wind can speed through the canyons created by skyscrapers.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 12, 2015 at 10:12 PM

          • Have you seen this, from the foot of the Flatiron Building? It’s great.


            December 12, 2015 at 10:15 PM

            • No, I hadn’t seen that. After it ended, another video started automatically; the second one was a collection of some of the oldest known movie clips showing scenes from Manhattan.

              Steve Schwartzman

              December 12, 2015 at 10:34 PM

  8. Lovely! 🙂


    December 12, 2015 at 8:58 AM

  9. wonderful flowers, Steve, I love the colors


    December 12, 2015 at 10:53 AM

  10. Beautiful Steve .. Such divine images


    December 12, 2015 at 1:51 PM

  11. I imagine it’s probably popular with pollinators, mallows I’ve seen here in the UK are. Seems late for such a pretty delicate thing to be flowering.

    Emily Scott

    December 12, 2015 at 4:46 PM

    • Because central and south Texas are so much warmer than the UK, we have at least some wildflowers here even into December. I’ll have a few more wildflower pictures coming up over the next couple of weeks.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 12, 2015 at 8:34 PM

  12. I’m s’more of a marsh mallow kind of guy. The second view reminds me of our poor departed magnolia.

    Steve Gingold

    December 12, 2015 at 6:28 PM

    • This mallow doesn’t grow as far east as Austin, but we have our share of other ones (several of which have appeared here over the years). I’m sorry for your dear departed magnolia; perhaps it was in too cold a climate up there.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 12, 2015 at 8:58 PM

      • Yes and no on the climate. Magnolias grow just fine here, but the extremely heavy Halloween snowstorm we had a few years back snapped most of the branches and caused us to cut the rest down.

        Steve Gingold

        December 13, 2015 at 3:31 AM

  13. This is beautiful! We have a species of mallow here too, but so different.


    December 12, 2015 at 9:12 PM

    • This is a small wildflower, and close to the ground, so I could easily have missed it. I’m glad I didn’t.

      The flower as seen in the first view made me initially think I might be looking at a variety of mallow that also happens to grow just north of Austin, but the leaves and other features didn’t match up.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 12, 2015 at 9:21 PM

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