Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Scarlet Rose Mallow: A Beautiful Florida Native Wildflower

Let's play "guess the family:"


I know... too easy. This thing is obviously a hibiscus of some sort. If you've ever grown a tropical hibiscus or owned a Hawaiian shirt, this flower is familiar to you. Its Latin name is Hibiscus coccineus.

Unlike the standard hibiscus, though, the scarlet rose mallow (also known as swamp hibiscus) has palmate leaves and like swampy locations. Roadside ditches are perfect for this plant, as are pond margins.

Native plant nurseries like Taylor Gardens Nursery and The Potter's Bench (Look for Connie at the 326 Community Market) are good places to find this plant. I should have a few in my nursery before too long. I concentrate on edibles but really like this plant.

I know, liking ornamentals is a sign of weakness.

The blooms are large and ephemeral, only sticking around for one glorious day.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find out if this particular mallow is edible. Whatever it is, the butterflies sure like it:


More on this lovely native can be found here.

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4 Comments:

At August 6, 2014 at 10:37 AM , Blogger Arisia said...

Growing ornamentals is not a sign of weakness. It's a sign that you are a good steward of your land, because you are feeding pollinators toxin-free food, which means they will be alive to pollinate your edibles.

 
At August 6, 2014 at 7:22 PM , Anonymous MyamuhNative said...

One of my favorite flowers. I have been pollinating mine and collecting seed pods-have some to share if you want them. They seem to take forever to germinate but stratifying them may be the ticket to a quicker result.

 
At August 7, 2014 at 2:07 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

from http://onlineathens.com/stories/072510/liv_682592937.shtml

Additionally, two North American native Hibiscus plants share the culinary uses of rose of Sharon's flower. Swamp-rose (Hibiscus moscheutos) and swamp hibiscus (H. coccineus) - which both display stunning, hummingbird-attracting blooms of red, pink, cream or white - are commercially available, and add a vivid splash of color to teas and salads. The flowers contain antioxidants and can have a soothing effect on the nerves.

Although the leaves are edible, they aren't quite as palatable as the rose of Sharon.

 
At August 7, 2014 at 9:14 AM , Anonymous Survival Gardener/David the Good said...

Excellent find, Anonymous - thank you!

 

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