Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hibiscus moscheutos

Hibiscus moscheutos | Swamp Rosemallow, Musk mallow, 芙蓉葵 (Fu Rong Kui)

Hibiscus moscheutos is a cold-hardy perennial found in wetlands and along the riverine systems of the southeastern United States. Its range extends from Texas to the Atlantic states, northward into southern Ontario. In Canada, it is listed as a species of special concern by the Species at Risk Act. There are multiple sub-species, but taxonomic consensus is lacking in regard to nomenclature.

Hibiscus moscheutos often occurs naturally in large colonies. There are numerous forms and petal colors ranging from pure white to deep rose, most having a maroon center. Flowers are born apically, whereas flowers of the related Hibiscus laevis bloom along the stems.

Hibiscus section Muenchhusia: Hibiscus moscheutos is a member of the North American section Muenchhusia, which is composed of hardy, herbaceous, perennial Hibiscus species. Within section Muenchhusia, there are numerous naturally occuring forms as well as flower colors, ranging from pure white to deep red. Additionally, many cultivars have been released through the years into the nursery trade ―many of these cold-hardy Hibiscus cultivars are hybrids of Hibiscus moscheutos, Hibiscus coccineus, Hibiscus grandiflorus, Hibiscus laevis, Hibiscus palustris and perhaps even Hibiscus dasycalyx. These make an attractive addition to the garden, not only adding visual appeal but also enhancing wildlife value for nectar-feeders and birds. What's more, it now looks like a new era of hybridizing has begun for the cold-hardy Swamp Mallow family. For more infomation, see the following article: "A Blue Flowering Winter-hardy Hibiscus".

Historial Reference: THE ROSE MALLOWS. The large pink-flowered rose mallow, which grows wild in swamps, and is especially abundant near the coast from Massachusetts to Florida and Louisiana, was described by Linnaeus under the name of Hibiscus Moscheutos, the name by which it has since been known ; Linnaeus thought there were two related species, and described the other one as Hibiscus palustris, but it has long been understood that the two plants which he had in mind are but forms of the common pink-flowered species. This plant has been under cultivation for a long time, and is one of the most beautiful and desirable of large hardy perennials, growing quite as well in ordinary soil as it does in its natural habitat in swamps, and flowering freely in August and September.

   Journal of the New York Botanical Garden
   Publisher by New York Botanical Garden, 1903