Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Lavatera maritima

Lavatera maritima | Bicolor Tree Mallow, Tree Mallow

Lavatera maritima (aka Lavatera bicolor) is a large shrub that grows 2-3m in height. The gray-green leaves are palmately lobed, the lavender-pink flowers have dark centers with radiating veins. It blooms year round with peak bloom from spring to late fall. This Iberian native is hardy to about 20° F. and is an excellent choice for the xeric garden. It's an all around tough plant suitable for problem areas or for exposed coastal planting.

Historical Reference: Remarks.—Lavatera maritima, grows along the French and Italian shores of the Mediterranean, in Sardinia, in Spain, and in Algiers. At Mentone I have rarely seen this plant at any distance from the above-named formations, where it delights to wedge itself into the cracks of the hardest and most inhospitable cliffs, or to vie with Euphorbia dendroides, in endurance of the heat of arid and scorching situations. I have gathered it on limestone cliffs at Noli, east of Finale, where the leaves are peculiarly thick and almost fleshy, and it grows inland in the department of the Alpes Maritimes, at Le Bar, and St. Arnoux.

   Contributions to the Flora of Mentone and to a Winter Flora of the Riviera,
     Including the Coast from Marseilles to Genoa
   By John Traherne Moggridge
   Published by L. Reeve & Co., 1874