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Checkerbloom

Common name: Checkerbloom

Scientific name: Sidalcea calycosa
Family: Malvaceae (mallow)
Habitat: vernal pools, wet grassland
Size: plant up to 12 inches tall, flower 1.5 to 2.0 cm across

Fun facts: The common name Checkerbloom comes from the checkered pattern of veins on the petals.

Description: Member of the mallow family. The flowers are made up of five petals and many stamens. The petals are pale pink to white. Leaves are often rounded or maple leaf-shaped at the bottom of the plant and divided into palmate (hand-shaped) lobes at the top.

There may be more than one species of Checkerbloom at Mather Field. This species blooms early in the season along with White-tipped Clover (Trifolium variegatum) on the edges of the vernal pools. The plant that blooms later in the season may be a different species.

Life cycle: Checkerbloom is an annual. It blooms in April and early May at Mather Field.

Ecology: Checkerblooms have large almost nut-like seeds which are highly nutritious. They are an important food source for burrowing rodents and birds.

Most vernal pools do not have Checkerbloom. Only a few at Mather Field have Checkerbloom rings.

Investigate: The Checkerbloom and White-tipped Clover grow together, bloom at the same time, and have similar colored flowers. Do you think that they may be pollinated by the same insects? When an insect visits a Checkerbloom, what part of its body would get pollen on it?

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