Today, we feature a lovely photo of four Hibiscus moscheutos subsp. palustris flower buds, nearly ready to grace us with their elegant, 10cm-wide flowers.
Monceau@Flickr labels this species as Hibiscus palustris, which the USDA GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network) lists as an unaccepted synonym for Hibiscus moscheutos subsp. palustris. There is disagreement about whether Hibiscus moscheutos and Hibiscus palustris constitute seperate species, subspecies, varieties, or actually belong to the same taxon, but the visible differences between the two are (by splitting them as subspecies) that Hibiscus moscheutos subsp. palustris has pink flowers and ovate, pointed leaves, while Hibiscus moscheutos subsp. moscheutos has white flowers with reddish-purple centres and lower leaves that are often three-lobed.
No matter your taxonomic viewpoint, this taxon goes by the common name swamp rose mallow, and originates from the salt marshes and brackish wetlands of eastern North America. With large, showy flowers that bloom from summer to fall, swamp rose mallow is commonly used as an ornamental species. This 1-2 meter tall perennial thrives in moist, rich garden soils. It will also spread through rhizomes and by self-seeding in the garden. In Canada, Hibiscus moscheutos subsp. palustris is found only in southern Ontario and is designated as “special concern” according to the Species at Risk Act. This is due to habitat loss, as many of Ontario’s coastal wetlands have been drained and developed.