Herbs, perennial, (0.1–)0.2–0.4(–0.6) m, pale-glaucous, with thick, rather woody taproot and simple or branched caudex, without rhizomes. Stems clustered, usually erect or ascending, sometimes proximally decumbent or prostrate, not rooting, solid, sparsely to densely appressed stellate-hairy. Leaves mostly basal, persistent, to 10+; stipules linear-lanceolate to elliptic, 5–6 × 2 mm on proximal stem, 4–5 × 0.5 mm on distal stem; petiole 5.5–16 cm, basal 3–5 times longer than blades, reduced distally to 1/2 times as long as blades; blades: basal reniform-orbiculate, palmately (5–)7–9-lobed, deeply incised, (1.5–)2.5–4(–6) × (1.5–)2.5–4(–6) cm, base cordate, margins entire, apex rounded to acute, lobes linear to oblong, again deeply pinnately or ternately 3–5-lobed; cauline ternately lobed, lobes linear to filiform, narrowest on distalmost leaves, somewhat fleshy, surfaces hairy, hairs appressed, stellate; distalmost leaf lobes unlobed. Inflorescences erect, open, calyces not conspicuously overlapping except sometimes in bud, usually unbranched, usually 3–9(–15)-flowered, elongate, 1-sided, to 7–25 cm; bracts usually paired, linear or lanceolate to narrowly ovate, proximal divided to base, distalmost 2-fid or simple, 5 mm, shorter to longer than pedicels. Pedicels 3–8(–10) mm; involucellar bractlets absent. Flowers usually bisexual or, infrequently, unisexual and pistillate, plants gynodioecious; calyx (6–)7–10 mm, slightly enlarged in fruit, uniformly minutely stellate-puberulent; petals pink to rose, pale-veined at least when dry, 9–20(–25) mm, pistillate shortest; staminal column 3.3–7.5 mm, sparsely stellate-hairy; anthers pale yellowish to white; stigmas 6 or 7. Schizocarps 5–7 mm diam.; mericarps 6 or 7, 3.5–4.3 mm, roughened, back finely glandular-puberulent, sides and back coarsely reticulate-veined, pitted, mucro 0.5–1 mm. Seeds 1.5–2 mm. 2n = 20.
Phenology: Flowering May–Jul(–Sep).
Habitat: Dry places, sagebrush scrub, pinyon-juniper or pine forests
Elevation: (1200–)2000–2500(–2900) m
Sidalcea multifida is generally a low-growing plant of high elevations, and usually can be distinguished by its highly glaucous, waxy, generally erect stems and leaves, and the generally basal and persistent seven- to nine-lobed leaf blades with pinnate or ternate lobes. It has been confused with S. glaucescens, to which it appears to be closely related and of which it may be found to be a variant or subspecies; as in S. glaucescens, the narrow inflorescence is often slightly curved between flowers. Sidalcea multifida can generally be distinguished from S. glaucescens by its seven- to nine-lobed leaf blades with more finely divided, ternate lobes, persisting basal leaves, range, and more erect habit. It occurs in Alpine, Mono, and Tulare counties in California, and from Lyon to Washoe counties in Nevada.