Mexican Turk’s Cap

TurksCap PinkTurksCap
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Malvacea
Malvavisc
arboreus var. mexicanus
Malvaviscus conzattii
grandiflorus
bees, butterflies, birds
Average Water
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
9-12 in. (22-30 cm)
8b: to 11:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Red White/Near White
Late Spring/Early Fall
Evergreen
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
sow indoors before last frost
dividing the rootball
From semi-hardwood cuttings
One of Texas’ best loved and most used flowering ornamentals hails from a variety of habitats: sandy low grounds near streams, limestone slopes around wooded creeks and even palm groves provide fertile ground for turk’s cap. It ranges from the Texas Coastal Plain, east to Florida and also to the West Indies, Mexico and Cuba. In the Valley it is evergreen, flowering year round, but farther north it will die to the ground as a herbaceous perennial in colder climates where it grows to a maximum of 4 by 4 feet. In its native habitat turk’s cap is fairly large and coarse, having upright or somewhat reclining stems bearing 4- to 6-inch-diameter tomentose, dull green leaves. Its vermillion red flowers are twisted into a tube showing extended red stamens protruding from the whorl. Although drought tolerant as far west as Midland, turk’s cap also tolerates Houston’s gumbo, and is especially welcome in shady sites. Oddly, in full sun it may get mildew which crinkles the leaves. There is a white flowered form and a variegated leaf, red blooming form. The combination of the red and white plants together provide an interesting shady accent. In North Central Texas’ black clay, a well-established turk’s cap is exceedingly difficult to dig up due to its very tough, dense and deep roots. Its leaves have been used as an emmolient and in Mexico the flowers are used in a decoction to treat inflammation of the digestive tract and as a menstrual aid. The marble-size red fruit is edible, having a mealy taste, and is enjoyed by a number of birds and animals. The flowers provide nectar to eager ruby-throated hummingbirds and several species of butterflies. Livestock occasionally browse the leaves. Malvaviscus is from a Greek word meaning “sticky mallow”.
Information on this page is from Missouri Botanical Gardens. or
Dave’s Garden or from Aggie Horticulture

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