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Clustered Poppy-mallow (Callirhoe triangulata)

Life history

Species overview

Clustered Poppy-mallow (Callirhoe triangulata), a Wisconsin Special Concern plant, is found in sand terrace prairies. Blooming occurs early July through late September; fruiting occurs early August through late September. The optimal identification period for this species is early July through late September.

Synonyms: Malva triangulata


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Each flower stalk bears several flowers, with each flower having 3 leaf-like bracts at its base; leaves triangular with rounded teeth.
  • Flower characteristics: Heads several, short-stalked, borne on the ends of longer branches; flowers subtended by 3 leaf-like bracts; petals 5, red to bright pink, each 16 to 32 mm long and with a white spot at the base.
  • Fruit characteristics: Mature carpels rounded or short-beaked, hairy but not rugose; seed 1.
  • Leaf characteristics: Triangular to heart-shaped and edged with rounded teeth; lower leaves with long petioles; upper leaves tending to be much narrower.


  • Blooming phenology: early July through late September
  • Fruiting phenology: early August through late September
  • Optimum time to identify: The optimal identification period for this species is early July through late September


  • Growth form: Forb-erect
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Amorpha canescens, Andropogon scoparius, Stipa spartea, Euphorbia corollata, Carex muhlenbergii, Quercus velutina.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Clustered Poppy-mallow (Callirhoe triangulata). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Callirhoe triangulata in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusSC
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS2
Global RankG3
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found in sand terrace prairies.
  • Soils: Sandy soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Clustered Poppy-mallow. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Natural communities score
Dry Prairie 1
Dry-mesic Prairie 1
Sand Prairie 3
Pine Barrens 1

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Clustered Poppy-mallow. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Ecological landscape score
Western Coulee and Ridges 3

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.
  • Avoid locating landings, staging areas, or access routes in open sandy areas dominated by native grasses.
  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Prescribed burns and/or brushing may be beneficial (dependent on local site conditions).
  • Maintain and restore open habitat through selective clearing and brushing.


Clustered Poppy-mallow Photo.

Photo by Thomas Meyer, Wisconsin DNR.

Clustered Poppy-mallow Photo.

Clustered poppy mallow is a globally rare species that inhabits sand prairies in southwestern Wisconsin.

Photo by Thomas Meyer, Wisconsin DNR.

Clustered Poppy-mallow Photo.

Helena Prairie.

Photo © Robert H. Read.

Clustered Poppy-mallow Photo.

Photo © Kitty Kohout.

Clustered Poppy-mallow Photo.

Photo by Armund Bartz, Wisconsin DNR.

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday, May 05, 2021
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition