Thursday, November 18, 2010

Saltmarsh Mallow - Kosteletzkya pentacarpos

Saltmarsh mallow (Kosteltzkya pentacarpos; syn. K. virginica) is a member of the hibiscus family and a common occurrence in salt marsh and freshwater wetland habitats throughout Florida and the Eastern Seaboard.  This widely distributed species goes largely unnoticed, however, when not in bloom.
Saltmarsh mallow is a deciduous perennial  that emerges each spring and produces a thin weak stem that eventually reaches a height of up to 6 feet.  The thin stems and elongated diamond-shaped leaves are sometimes difficult to discern within the adjacent foliage unless the plant is encountered along stream edges where it may stand alone.
Blooming can occur during most months from late spring through fall.  The individual flowers are small by native hibiscus standards; 1-2 inches across, but a wonderful rich pink in color.  These flowers are attractive nectar sources for a wide variety of pollinators.
Saltmarsh mallow needs wet soils to prosper, but given these, it can be a handsome addition to a mixed wildflower planting  when cultivated and maintained a bit.  Use it as an accent within a pond or marsh edge planting and use several together to maximize the impact of its blooms.  This species is frequently grown by nurseries that specialize in wetland mitigation plantings, so it may not be difficult to locate.  Individuals do not get much larger over the years - the way many species in the Hibiscus genus do, but they produce large numbers of seed and often spread this way when conditions are right.


  1. I often refer to sites like yours to identify wild plants, and appreciate your work. It would be most helpful to have an image of the leaf or leaves as well as flower since the flower isn't always present. Thank you.

  2. Thanks - I appreciate your input. I often add these kinds of photos, but I will be more aware of this and try to post these types of photos to posts I've already done - like this one, when I can.


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