Shimmering Sida

Arrowleaf Sida ~ Sida rhombifolia

Several species of Sida, commonly known as ‘fanpetals,’ occur across Texas. Their flowers, about an inch in diameter, could be mistaken for those of a tiny hibiscus; the resemblance points to their membership in the Malvaceae, or mallow family. The Acadian French name for this species, Gombo de Ste. Jeanne, or St. Jeanne’s Gombo, probably alludes to those hibiscus-like flowers, since they resemble blooms of the okra used in gumbos.

A larval host for the Tropical Checkered Skipper (Pyrgus oileus), the plant is easily found along roads and pasture fencelines, as well as in low open woodlands and disturbed ground. Tolerant of droughty conditions, its silky, somewhat reflective petals shimmer in strong summer sunlight, catching the eye despite their small size.

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