Fringed Checker Bloom

Fringed Checker Bloom © AKim

Fringed Checker Mallow
Sidalcea diploscypha

Description (Jepson,

  • Eudicotyledon
    • Eudicots are a major lineage of flowering plants; see family for general characteristics
  • Mallow Family (Malvaceae)
  • Annual herb
    • Whole plant bristly hairy
  • Leaves
    • Alternate (1 leaf at each junction with stem) and simple (not divided into leaflets)
    • Fine bristly hairs on both sides
    • 2 types
      • Basal leaves are round, with shallow lobes, and are early deciduous
      • Cauline (on the stem) leaves are deeply divided with narrow, forking lobes
    • Stipules (pair of leaf-like structures at the base of the leaf stalk) are divided into 2 or more linear lobes
  • Flowers
    • Inflorescence (flower arrangement) is a crowded cluster of several flowers
      • Bracts (modified leaves) at base are long (≤ 0.4 in.) and frilly, divided into 2-4 linear lobes
    • Each cup-shaped flower has 5 free petals
      • Pink, lightning to white at base, with white or pinkish veins
        • Some forms, not found at Edgewood, have dark spots at base
    • Ovary superior (above the attachment of other flower parts)
  • Fruit a capsule (a dry, multi-chambered fruit that splits open at maturity)
  • Height to 24 in.
Bracts © DHimes


  • Native and endemic (limited) to California, although Jepson reports occurrences in western Oregon
    • Grows in grasslands and open woodlands
    • 65-74% of plants occur on ultramafic soils, e.g. serpentine; see ultramafic affinity rankings (Calflora per Safford and Miller 2020)
    • See Serpentine Grassland for more about Edgewood’s serpentine soil and the unique communities it supports
    • See Calflora for statewide observations of this plant
  • Grows at elevations to 2,7600 ft.

Uses (San Mateo County Parks prohibits removal of any natural material)

  • Wildlife
    • Pollen and nectar source for native bees
    • Larval food source (host) for several butterfly species, i.e. West Coast lady (Vanessa annabella), gray hairstreak (Strymon melinus), and common checkered-skipper (Pyrgus communis)

Name Derivation

  • Sidalcea (si-DAL-see-a) – from Sida and Alcea, names of related genera in the Mallow family
    • Both Sida and Alcea are Greek names for mallow
  • diploscypha (dip-lo-SKY-fa) – from the Greek diploos, “double,” and skyplos, “cup”
  • Fringed checker bloom
    • Fringed – for the tips of the petals, which are minutely fringed
    • Checker bloom – as with the name checker mallow, commonly used for plants in the genus Sidalcea, referring to the pattern of veins on the petals of some species

ID Tips

  • May be confused with checker mallow (S. malviflora ssp. malviflora), also in the Mallow family
Checker MallowFringed Checker Bloom
Growth Habitperennialannual
Habitatnon-serpentine grasslandsserpentine grasslands
    Shapecup-shaped, splaying in age

petals usually overlap at base

petals narrow, creating 5 tiny “windows”
    Colorpink to rosepink, with white base
    Bracts¹short (≤ 0.2 in.)

leaflike and undivided
long (≤ 0.4 in.)

frilly, divided into 2-4 narrow lobes
    Spacingclusters more evenly spacedclusters crowded
Stipules²undivideddivided into narrow lobes
Blooming Periodearly spring (grasses green)late spring (grasses brown)
1. Bracts: modified leaves at the base of the flower
2. Stipules: pair of leaf-like structures at the base of the leaf stalk
Flower of Checker Mallow (L), Fringed Checker Bloom (R)
© AKim (L), DSchiel (R)

At Edgewood

See General References

Specific References

Anderson, M.K. 2005. Tending the Wild. University of California, Berkeley.

Shapiro, A.M. and T.D. Manolis, 2007. Field Guide to Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Valley Regions. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, California.

van Doorn, W.G. and U. van Meeteren. 2003, Aug. 1. Flower opening and closure: A review. Journal of Experimental Botany 54: 1801–1812. Oxford Academic.