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One of the summer delights in Louisiana wetland habitats is the wooly rose mallow, Hibiscus lasiocarpus, a member of the Malvaceae.

Wooly rose mallows are easily observed traveling across the LaBranche Wetlands, and along virtually all wet areas in America’s WETLAND (the Louisiana coastal area) where the salinity is not too high.

During most of the summer, they stand out from other plants due to their six inch wide flowers that have five petals ranging in color from white to pink. All are cup-shaped with a wine-colored center. Buds open in early morning, and the flowers fall off that evening.

The plant stands six feet tall, and grows back each year from its roots (it is a perennial).

Their stems each branch from the base, may be reddish, and range from glaucous (waxy) and glabrous (smooth) to pubescent (covered with tiny “hairs” called trichomes).

Older leaves have several sharp tips, often with reddish veins, and look a bit like maple leaves.

Not only are wooly rose mallows beautiful plants, they are host and habitat to many interesting insects that inhabit the marshes and swamps.

If you have space in your garden for a glorious flowering plant that dies back during winter months, add the wooly rose mallow to your botanic collection.