Wild Hibiscus

Native Swamp Mallow, Hibiscus Muscheotos,, on Jamestown Island.

Native Swamp Mallow, Hibiscus moscheutos,, on Jamestown Island.

Swamp Mallow, or Hibisucus moscheutos, earned its name honestly.

One of our most flamboyant native plants here in Virginia, this beautiful perennial loves to grow in swamps and  along ditches,  where it can get full to partial sun

I’ve been watching for it to bloom in the wild places where we’ve found it growing other summers.

July 14, 2014 Jamestown Island 022

Its exact date for blooming is a fine alchemy of temperature, moisture, sun, and wind.

But since it’s been flowering  in our garden for nearly a week, I knew it had to be in bloom somewhere near the river, in the swampy lowlands along its banks.

And yesterday we finally noticed the large white blossoms of our native Hibiscus peaking through the reeds on Jamestown Island.

July 14, 2014 Jamestown Island 024

This acreage floods and drains with the tides and weather.

The rich, moist soil supports hundreds of species of life, all coming and going in rhythm and harmony as the seasons unfold.

Ferns grow along the edge of the marsh where we found wild Hibiscus,

Native ferns grow along the edge of the marsh where we found wild Hibiscus,

From the Park Service’s single lane road, there is a narrow, banked  skirt of mown grasses leading to a shallow ditch, and then wet wildness beyond.

I would imagine the water has come up and covered the road from time to time in this low spot.

July 14, 2014 Jamestown Island 027

But out among all of the Pickerel Weed, Cattails, reeds, and grasses, we found Swamp Mallow reaching for the sky to open its beautiful blossoms to the sun.

High enough for butterflies and bees to find and pollinate, our Hibiscus has succeeded this year in its quest:  to open its blossoms so it has the opportunity to produce seeds, and extend its life ever outward and onwards.


The same Hibiscus Moscheutos growing in our garden.

The same Hibiscus moscheutos growing in our garden.

Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

Native ferns found near the wild Hibiscus.

Native ferns found near the wild Hibiscus.


About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

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