Hibiscus laevis

Thanks once again to Claire for writing today’s entry:

This photograph of Hibiscus laevis was taken in July, 2007 by Robert Klips (Orthotrichum@Flickr) of Franklin County, Ohio, USA via the BPotD Flickr Pool. Thank you Robert!

Hibiscus laevis of the mallow family, Malvaceae, is a native to eastern and central North America. The five delicate petals are arranged in a whorl pattern and are imbricate (overlapping), with the flowers reaching up to 13cm (5 inches) across. It’s interesting to note that Hibiscus laevis only has one mature flower in bloom each day during its bloom season.

Halberd-leaved rose mallow or scarlet rose mallow are the common names for this species (a halberd is a medieval weapon, while the scarlet appellation is due to the deep red throat occurring in most flowers). The green lantern-like features on the plant in the photograph are flowers in bud, enfolded by huge sepals.

Hibiscus flowers have a bit of an unusual structure. Hibiscus laevis has a central column that bears both the male and female reproductive organs. Five female pistils are present at the top of the column, and the column is then surrounded by numerous anthers emerging from fused filaments (a monadelphous stamen arrangement). This prevents self pollination and promotes bee pollination quite effectively as the anthers (pollen-bearing) and the stigma (female organ) are separated by space. For additional images, including photographs of leaf shape variation and a closer look at flower parts, see AlabamaPlants: Hibiscus laevis.

Hibiscus laevis

8 responses to “Hibiscus laevis”

  1. Janeal Thompson

    Is this the same as the frost-hardy hibiscus we are now seeing in yards here in Colorado? Thanks.
    Janeal Thompson

  2. elizabeth a airhart

    this plant grows in florida where i live tis a pretty one
    during holiday season the kind grown in yards etc,are used
    to decorate chistmas trees the growers use florist vials
    the flowers can be the size of dinner plates and more
    with all kinds of colours and on display in historical houses etc
    thank you daniel bonjour

  3. Deb

    Also known as Rose of Sharon, and watch out, the birds love the seeds and it is highly invasive here in Pennsylvania- one shrub can make a little forest in your back yard.

  4. Tim Springer

    The bloom of Hibiscus laevis looks like that of the Rose of Sharon. However,he Rose of Sharon is a different species, Hibiscus syriacus, and is not native to North America. The Rose of Sharon is indeed invasive. The Hibiscus laevis that is growing in my yard does reproduce, but does not seem to be invasive.

  5. lynn

    Breath taking…
    Something about all those buds getting ready to bloom.
    Thank you so much for the daily respite.

  6. Deb

    Thank you, Tim, that was careless of me- I was taken with the picture, those lush buds, not the name.

  7. Doug

    Are these pictures also H. laevis?
    I’m not happy with the ID because the two side lobes of the leaves are ALMOST seperate from the center lobe. Also, in some cases, the side lobes are almost as long and skinny as the center lobes. The stems are smooth as are the underside of the leaves…
    (The flowers are pink with a red center…)

  8. Bob Klips

    Yes Doug, your pictures are also Hibiscus laevis. The species is quite variable. Except for a rare e. Texas endemic called Hibiscus dasycalyx, this is the only rose mallow with such deeply 3-lobed leaves.

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