Sunday, June 28, 2009

Kosteletzkya virginica

Kosteletzkya virginica | Seashore Mallow, Sweat Weed, Virginia Saltmarsh Mallow

The Seashore Mallow is a 1-3m tall perennial with several stems arising from the crown. It is native to fresh or salty marshes near the coast, from southern Delaware to eastern Texas. Although it can be found in both fresh or salty tidal marshes, Kosteletzkya virginica does not flourish as well in fresh water. The flowers of the Seashore Mallow are more numerous but smaller than those of other Hibiscus (to 5cm). The flowers are usually pink, but may also be lavender or white, flowering from July to October. When grown in full sun and constantly moist soil, the plant flowers profusely. The Seashore Mallow is a halophyte (a plant that thrives in saline soil), and often grows in areas where other crops can’t. Give Seashore Mallow full sun, well drained soil and some room to spread.

Historical Reference: Kosteletzkya virginica (L.). Kosteletzky's Mallow. Hibiscus virginica. Edge of the salt marshes on the coast and bay shore; common in Cape May County; local and less common farther north. This mallow is a conspicuous feature of the mid-summer coast marshes, its broadly branching stems with their numerous pink flowers adding quite a touch of color, although not nearly so conspicuous as the following species. Unlike it, the Kosteletzkya never strays from the vicinity of the salt marshes.

   Annual Report of the New Jersey State Museum
   New Jersey State Museum
   BiblioBazaar, 1911