Few perennials can match the eye-popping show of wine cups in full bloom. Native to the American Southwest and Midwest, they grow from fleshy roots to become wide-spreading mats of foliage; the leaves are deeply cut, resembling those of some scented geraniums. A profusion of cup-shaped flowers smothers the plant during hot weather. As long as they have good drainage, wine cups will tolerate infertile soil and intense heat. Use them at front of border and on slopes.
C. alcaeoides. Native from Illinois to Nebraska, south to Tennessee and Texas. Whitish (often pink-tinged) flowers to 212 in. across are held on slender, 5- to 20-in. stems; plant spreads 13 ft. wide. 'Logan Calhoun' is an improved selection with sparkling white blossoms; it grows 812 in. high, sprawling 34 ft. wide.
C. involucrata. Native from Missouri to Wyoming and south to Texas. To 6 in. tall and 23 ft. wide. Produces purplish red flowers 2 in. across. C. i. tenuissima, from the mountains of Mexico, has light purple flowers and more deeply cut foliage than the species.
C. papaver. WOODLAND POPPY MALLOW. From northern Florida to Texas, north to Georgia and Arkansas. Resembles C. involucrata but has deep magenta blossoms on stems 512 in. long.