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Hibiscus moscheutos

Hibiscus moscheutos (SwamHibiscus moscheutosp-rose Mallow or Rose mallow) is a cold-hardy perennial wetland plant that can grow in large colonies. The hirsute leaves are of variable morphology, but commonly found as deltoidal in form and sometimes having up to three lobes. It is found in wetlands and along the riverine systems of the southeastern United States from Texas to the Atlantic states, its territory extending northward to southern Ontario.

There exists in nature numerous forms and petal colors range from pure white to deep rose, and, except for one genome, all have an eye of deep maroon. Taxonomic consensus is lacking for the nomenclature of the multiple sub-species. The complete flowers are born apically, whereas the related Hibiscus laevis carries bud and bloom along the stem.

Propagation can be accomplished by seed sown 0.6 cm (1/4-inch) below media and kept constantly moist, 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 an attractive addition to a bog garden or other water feature, not only adding visual appeal but also enhancing wildlife value for nectar-feeders and birds.
Many cold-hardy Hibiscus cultivars are hybrids of H. moscheutos, Hibiscus coccineus, Hibiscus laevis, Hibiscus militaris and Hibiscus palustris with indeterminate genetic contributions from each parent species. A number of hardy Hibiscus species will cross with each other. According the botanist Harold F. Winters, those that are compatible include H. coccineus, Hibiscus grandiflorus, H. laevis, Hibiscus lasiocarpos, H. moscheutos, and Hibiscus mutabilis. All are native to the eastern United States except Hibiscus mutabilis, which originated in China. One source of information on these hybrids are Plant Patents. A search of Google Patents for Plant Patents referencing H. moscheutos identifies the ancestry of many popular cultivars of H. moscheutos. While H. militaris and H. palustris are both referenced in plant patents, H. militaris is now classified as a sub-species of H. laevis and H. palustris is classified as a sub-species of H. moscheutos. Because some plant patents reference the historic species name, they will be used here to facilitate searching.