I am still trying to determine if this is Common Rose-Mallow or Halberd-leaf Rose-Mallow. One way to differentiate between the two is to look at the leaf shape, but both types could have 3-lobed leaves. I didn't get great shots of the leaves, but they are definitely 3-lobed. I need to go back and see if the leaves are hairy or not - if they are hairless, then the ID is most likely the Halberd-leaf species (at least according to my handy-dandy National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Wildflowers of North America).
A not-so-great shot of the mallow leaves and blossoms
The seed pod can also aid in identification, but both rose-mallows have "many-seeded capsules," so that doesn't really narrow it down.
These dried out seed pods are from last year's flowers, mixed right in with the new flowers from this year. I guess I could snag a few and try planting them somewhere else closer to home.
They both prefer similar habitat (wet, marshy areas), so again, no help there. For now I will be content to simply admire how beautiful they are, but my learning antennae will be up to find the key to lead me to a positive ID.
Nice pollen. I have to wonder what evolutionary purpose these large petals, which can catch pollen, might serve? Is it to be a "landing pad" of sorts for the insects that are meant to pollinate it?
Does the stamen of this flower look like an elephant's trunk to anyone else?
P.S. A big thanks goes out to Dave, who mowed a path with the tractor so that I could get to these flowers. They are amidst very tall grass and dicey terrain, wherein I worried that I might encounter snakes or other surprise animals hiding out. I wasn't too crazy about the possibility of bushwhacking my way to said flowers, so my man helped me out. He's pretty nice like that. ;)