Hibiscus moscheutos

Hibiscus moscheutos, the rose mallow, swamp rose-mallow,[2] crimsoneyed rosemallow,[3] or eastern rosemallow,[1] is a species of flowering plant in the family Malvaceae. It is a cold-hardy perennial wetland plant that can grow in large colonies. The hirsute leaves are of variable morphology, but are commonly deltoidal in shape with up to three lobes. It is found in wetlands and along the riverine systems of the eastern United States from Texas to the Atlantic states, its territory extending northward to southern Ontario.

Hibiscus moscheutos
Swamp rose-mallow.jpg
Rose mallow blooming in Point Pelee National Park (Ontario, Canada).

Secure (NatureServe)[1]
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Malvales
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Hibiscus
H. moscheutos
Binomial name
Hibiscus moscheutos

Numerous forms exist in nature. Petal colors range from pure white to deep rose, and most have an eye of deep maroon. Taxonomic consensus is lacking for the nomenclature of the multiple subspecies. The flowers are borne apically, whereas the related Hibiscus laevis carries bud and bloom along the stem.


It is a larval host for the common checkered skipper, the gray hairstreak, the Io moth, and the pearly wood nymph.[4]


This is a popular garden plant. It can be propagated by seed, or by crown divisions during winter dormancy, and some success can be achieved by hard-wood stem cuttings. Numerous hybrids of the native North American Hibiscus species have been released by the commercial nursery trade. In cultivation the species or the hybrids can be used in bog gardens or other water features. They are attractive and have wildlife value for nectar-feeders and birds.



Many cold-hardy hibiscus cultivars are hybrids of H. moscheutos, H. palustris, H. coccineus, H. laevis, H. militaris, H. grandiflorus, H. dasycalyx, H. mutabilis. With indeterminate genetic contributions from each parent species.[5] Hibiscus breeders do not preclude the possibility of self-pollination. However, recent research has shown that artificial pollination just after the flower has opened using a high pollen load will ensure that most of the resulting seeds are from the selected pollen parent. Early hibiscus breeders were likely aware of this and used it to their advantage.[6]


In Canada this plant is listed as a species of special concern under the Species at Risk Act.[2][7]



  1. ^ a b "Hibicus moscheutos". NatureServe Explorer. NatureServe. Retrieved 2013-07-04. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b COSEWIC 2004. COSEWIC assessment and update status report on the swamp rose-mallow Hibiscus moscheutos in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa.
  3. ^ Hibiscus moscheutos. USDA PLANTS.
  4. ^ The Xerces Society (2016), Gardening for Butterflies: How You Can Attract and Protect Beautiful, Beneficial Insects, Timber Press.
  5. ^ Winters, H. F. (1970). Our hardy Hibiscus species as ornamentals. Economic Botany 24(2) 155-64.
  6. ^ Snow, A. A., et al. (2000). Effects of sequential pollination on the success of "fast" and "slow" pollen donors in Hibiscus moscheutos (Malvaceae). American Journal of Botany 87(11) 1656-59.
  7. ^ *Swamp Rose-mallow. Archived 2013-06-10 at the Wayback Machine Environment Canada: Species at Risk Public Registry.