Of course I bought it!
|Each flower lasts only a single day.|
My Rose Mallow was really Hibiscus laevis/halberd-leaved rose mallow.
|Halberd/spear shaped leaves with long straight stems|
|Hibiscus coccineus leaves~simple first leaves and true leaves|
|features a central column that combines the flower’s sexual parts (pistil and stamens)|
Halberd-leaved rose mallow gets its name from the arrow/halberd shaped leaves. I've enjoyed learning about this plant's characteristics/needs and reading what various nurseries have to say about it. One nursery said the flowers were accessorized with highly showy stamens. Another educated me that like orchids, it features a central column that combines the flower’s sexual parts, pistil and stamens and others shared the Mallow family's history as a medicinal plant to treat sore throats, toothaches, and diarrhea. And let's not forget that mallow roots (not this one) were the original source for making marshmallow candy.
|The first bloom late June|
Hibiscus laevis is found naturally near wetlands, streams, ponds, and other moist soil habitats, but will do fine in the garden. I suspect that means if the soil is rich and moist, rather than concrete like mine gets most summers. Which is one reason why I planted it in a container near a faucet.
I have yet to capture any photos of pollinators other than ants visiting the flowers. But, H laevis attracts bumbles and even has a bee that specializes on it. "The Rose-mallow Bee (Ptilothrix bombiformis) uses this plant as a primary pollen source to feed its larvae. These beautiful flowers are also a dating hot-spot, as male and female Ptilothrix will meet at the flowers to mate. The female bee collects the pollen grains and carries them in specialized hairs on her rear legs to transport them to her nest. She then sculpts the pollen into a ball, lays an egg on it, and seals the nest to allow the larvae to develop over the winter. This pollen mass provides the larvae with all the nutrition it needs to develop into an adult. The next summer, Hibiscus blooms again, the new adults emerge from their nest, and the harmony between flower and bee continues for another generation." Source
Some insects feed destructively on Hibiscus spp. (Rose Mallow). Caterpillars of the butterfly, Strymon melinus (Gray Hairstreak), feed on the flower buds and developing seeds, while caterpillars of the butterfly, Vanessa cardui (Painted Lady), feed on the foliage, as do caterpillars of Pyrgus communis (Checkered Skipper). Larvae of such moths as Eudryas unio (Pearly Wood Nymph), Anomis erosa (Yellow Scallop Moth), Automeris io (Io Moth), and Acontia delecta (Delightful Bird-Dropping Moth) also feed on these plants. Source
Common name: smooth rose mallow or halberd-leaved rose mallow
Zones: 4 to 9
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to partial shade. Flowers needs full sun to completely open.
Native Distribution: Moist low-lying areas in Eastern USA into Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Iowa As far north as eastern Canada.
Habitat: Marshes, along river banks and streams, mucky places
Plant Height: 4-6 feet
Plant Spread: 2-3 feet
Flower Color: Multi-Color: White to pink with maroon eye
Bloom Size: 5"-6"
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate Leaf
Flower Time: Late summer or early fall
Wildlife Attractant: The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract bumblebees and an oligolectic bee, Ptilothrix bombiformis, Butterflies and occasionally hummingbirds
Propagation: Spreads by seed and can be propagated by stem or tip cuttings
Maintenance: Keep soil moist. It's slow to emerge in spring in cold areas so be patient. They may not emerge from soil until June.
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger.
Comments: Tolerant of humidity. The flower has a deep taproot and spreads by seed. Be aware that this plant can and might colonize in a damp spot. This plant is related to okra; it has a gummy, slimy sap. Other members of the mallow family produce the sap that, when whipped with sugar, was the origin of our marshmallow candy. Japanese beetles will eat this plant.
Uses: Border, hedge, cottage garden, wildflower garden. Wet spots in garden. A much better plant than it's "cousin" the invasive Rose of Sharon.
How lucky for me that a mislabeled plant turned out to be such a delightful beauty.
PS **I got it, I got it. Thanks to Terri Barnes of GroWild. She found it for sale at Cullowhee Native Plant Conference.
Welcome to Clay and Limestone's Wildflower Wednesday celebration. WW is about sharing and celebrating wildflowers from all over this great big, beautiful world. Join us on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Remember, it doesn't matter if they are in bloom or not; and, it doesn't matter if we all share the same plants. It's all about celebrating wildflowers. Please leave a comment when you add your url to Mr Linky.
Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.