Napaea dioica (Glade Mallow)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Malvaceae (Mallow)
Life cycle:perennial
  • State Threatened
Habitat:part shade, shade, sun; moist to wet; floodplains, along streams, open woods and woodland edges
Bloom season:July - August
Plant height:3 to 6 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: none MW: FACW NCNE: FACW
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: panicle

[photo of female flowers] Tight, branching clusters of short-stalked flowers at the top of the plant and arising from upper leaf axils, with male and female flowers on separate plants. Flowers are 1/3 to ¾ inch across with 5 white oval petals. Female flowers have a cluster of curly, thread-like styles atop a white ovary.

[photo of male flowers] Male flowers have a cluster of stamens in the center, the stalks (filaments) fused into a column with the pale pinkish tips (anthers) in a ball at the tip. The calyx cupping the flower has 5 pointed, triangular lobes. Flower stalks and sepals are hairless to sparsely hairy.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: lobed Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaf] Leaves are quite large, up to 18 inches in diameter, round in outline, palmately lobed into 5 to 9 segments, which may be further lobed, the lobe segments coarsely toothed and sharply pointed. Lower leaves are long-stalked, with leaves becoming smaller and shorter-stalked as they ascend the stem. Surfaces are hairless to softly hairy.

[photo of stipules] At the base of the leaf stalk is a pair of leafy appendages (stipules) that are narrowly lance-triangular, up to 1 inch long, and wither away as the plant matures. Stems are erect, unbranched except in the flowers, ridged, sparsely hairy, and often coated with a waxy bloom. Plants may form colonies from spreading rhizomes.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] The female flowers form small, round clusters of up to 10 wedge-shaped, capsule-like segments (mericarps), each containing a single seed. Seed heads mature from green to dark brown.


Glade Mallow is a distinctive species, the separate male and female flowers and size and shape of the leaves make it easily identifiable in the field. A rare plant in Minnesota as well as in most of its limited North American range, our southeast counties mark the northwest edge of its range. According to the DNR, it was listed as an Endangered species in 1984 but downgraded to Threatened in 1996 when its habitat requirements were better understood. In Minnesota, the remaining populations are mostly found in floodplains and along streams and riverbanks, sometimes forming long, narrow colonies. With adequate moisture, it can perform well in a home garden.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in her backyard garden. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Houston County and a private garden in Ramsey County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Nancy - Forestville
on: 2015-07-05 08:08:24

Growing in moist, partially shaded alluvial soil by South branch o Root River!

Posted by: Kenny h - On a spur off the shooting star trail,Rose Creek tributary
on: 2017-06-14 15:43:31

Along side a bridge on a tributary of the Rose Creek...2 large just beginning to bloom plants...looked like the deer had been munching on them

Posted by: Deb A - Fillmore county
on: 2017-08-12 01:12:57

General root river. Often near older bridges. High Forest to Grand Meadow and east.

Posted by: Robert Freeman - Todd County
on: 2018-09-30 22:17:02

Two locations growing along and near the Sauk River in Kandota township, floodplain of the river.

Posted by: Robert Freeman - Todd County
on: 2018-10-01 10:44:02

Two locations growing along and near the Sauk River in Kandota township, floodplain of the river.

Posted by: Kenny h - Mower County
on: 2019-07-04 09:48:16

Huge colony...Mower County #4 road bridge...between 560th ave. and 570th ave...colonies in all four quadrants of the bridge...blooming now/today...4th of July.

Posted by: Mary Wareham - apple Valley
on: 2019-09-27 21:10:46

We saw these blooming along the open prairie trail in the new Whitetail Woods Regional Park in Dakota County. I had never seen anything like them, they are gorgeous plants and for a time I was unable to locate any proper identification. They are beautiful and elegant, the flower petals are substantial, almost waxy and the pale pink tinges gives them a distinctive "nuptial" look, appropriate for a wedding bouquet. A choice garden perennial for sure.

Posted by: Kevin Halling - Root River County Park, Olmsted County
on: 2020-07-23 11:58:46

Seen along the riverbank

Posted by: Terri Dugan - Rochester
on: 2020-10-09 07:28:43

A small group collecting seed for restoration found one plant on the Oak Savanna at Quarry Hill Park in Rochester, MN. It was identified by a plant expert.

Posted by: Paul Henjum - Apple Valley
on: 2020-12-16 07:03:04

An easy plant to grow once established from seeds. I have a few plants mixed in with cup plants and joe-pie-weed that are 15 years old. They have survived a few very dry years in part shade. I have had some self seeding and the seedlings are easy enough to transplant but I doubt the mature plants would do well being moved. Love the large cut leaves, the white flowers are not showy. Gardeners that see it think its some type of 6.5 foot tall ligularia but unlike those plants it does not wilt during the heat of the day.

Posted by: Cris Swantko - Rochester
on: 2022-07-17 13:04:50

The Mayo Support Center in NW Rochester has a large restored prairie area near the Douglas Trail. We could smell the Glade Mallow before we even saw it; reminiscent of Elderberry flowers. The prairie has a large population of these plants, a new native to me. They are beautiful!

Posted by: Kevin Halling - Forestville State Park
on: 2023-07-24 16:28:04

Photo Posted on iNaturalist

Posted by: A. Meyer - Rochester
on: 2023-07-29 12:09:53

Lots spotted along the main trail at Izaak Walton Wetlands in SW Rochester off Salem road.

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