A tall evergreen shrub with tropical appearance and multiple canes of insubstantial wood that begins flowering by late January. The flowers, almost 2 inches across, have five white petals around a yellow center. The light green leaves vary in size up to a hand span across and in shape have a variable number of lobes, up to seven. The edge has blunt serrations and the base is cordate. Not noticeably furry to the eye, the leaves nevertheless have a distinctly velvety feel. The floral center has a trigger mechanism for actively pressing pollen onto visiting insects.
Two specimens used to be to the right of the steps leading up to Cummings Art Building from Lasuen Mall.
About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005. Cummings location removal noted Jan 2018 by Sairus Patel. Spelling of genus name changed to Sparrmannia (Sparmannia is a synonym), family name updated to Malvaceae from Tiliaceae Aug 2019 by Sairus Patel.