Hibiscus lasiocarpos Cav. - Rose Mallow

Hibiscus lasiocarpos plant

Family - Malvaceae

Stems - To 2.5m tall, herbaceous, glabrous and glaucous to pubescent, reddish above, multiple from base, branching.

Hibiscus lasiocarpos stem

Leaves - Alternate, petiolate. Petiole to 8cm long, glabrous and glaucous to sparse pubescent, reddish. Blade ovate, cordate to subcordate at base, acuminate at apex, to 15cm long, +10cm broad, glabrous to sparse pubescent or sericeous with stellate hairs below, dentate, with or without small lobes, NOT with two pointed lobes at base perpendicular to midrib (these are found in H. militaris (syn. H. laevis) which can have an identical flower). Veins of blade typically red.

Hibiscus lasiocarpos stem

Inflorescence - Single pedunculate flowers from leaf axils. Peduncle to +4cm long, reddish, glabrous and glaucous to pubescent. Flowers subtended by ring of 10 erect attenuate bracts. Bracts to +2.5cm long, 2mm broad, pubescent.

Hibiscus lasiocarpos bractsBracts.

Flowers - Corolla large, to +15cm broad. Petals 5, adnate to stamen column at base, white(or pink) with wine color at base, to 10cm long, 6cm broad, externally dense stellate pubescent at base. Stamens many at apex of column. Filaments to 3mm long. Anthers 2mm long. Carpels 5. Style 5-parted near apex. Stigmas 5, capitate. Calyx tube to +2cm long, 5-lobed, 5-nerved, stellate pubescent. Lobes to 2cm long, 1.7cm broad at base, acuminate, dense stellate pubescent. Calyx accrescent.

Hibiscus lasiocarpos flowerClose-up of floral organs.

Flowering - July - October.

Habitat - Wet edges of ponds, lakes, ditches, and streams, low wet woods.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This plant is quite variable in its pubescence. Some plants are almost completely glabrous and others just a meter away are densely pubescent. The corolla is typically white with the wine base but pink flowered plants are found also. Here is a pink plant:

Hibiscus lasiocarpos pink plant

The flowers of this plant are very showy and dominate the landscape when in full bloom. This is a great native plant to use in a wet garden location. The seeds are easy to collect as the capsule stays within the persistent calyx until it dries and falls.

Photographs taken off Hwy 60 near Poplar Bluff, MO., 8-8-04, and off Hwy 70 east of St. Louis, MO., 8-7-05.


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