(Smooth Rose Mallow - Shallow Hibiscus)
Hibiscus laevis - Allioni
Syn: H. militaris
Malvaceae (Mallow) Family
Plant is an upright, smooth perennial. Preferred habitat is wet ditches, open sites along rivers and streams and alluvial grounds. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.
Leaves are lance-like with base lobed; with leaf stalk; forms an angle to the left with tip pinched. Margins are toothed and base is roughly hastate or nearly arrow-shaped. The leaves resemble a medieval halberd, hence the common name.
Flowers are large; solitary on the stem; pink to white; dark red or purple at base of the throat. Stamens are fused and extend beyond the flower. Flowers occur in the summer. Each flower has a green balloon-like calyx with 5 lobes and 5 pink petals
Fruit is a capsule.
Halberd Leaf Rose Mallow buds, flowers, and developing fruit are fed upon by caterpillars of the Gray Hairstreak Butterfly (Strymon melinus). Caterpillars of the Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa cardui) and Common Checkered Skipper (Pyrgus communis) feed on the foliage. Caterpillars of the Pearly Wood Nymph Moth (Eudryas unio), Yellow Scallop Moth (Anomis erosa), and Io Moth (Automeris io) also feed on the foliage.