Federal and State Listed Species of Texas:
Neches River rose-mallow
Known only from Cherokee, Harrison, Houston, and Trinity counties in Texas.
Neches River rose-mallow is a non-woody perennial. The 2.5 meter tall stems are hairless and greenish to reddish-green. The hairless leaves are triangular-egg-shaped in outline, 5-12 cm long, and 1-14 cm wide. The leaves have three thin lobes (2-8mm wide) with parallel sides, and which taper to a point. The middle lobe is longer than and somewhat perpendicular to the side lobes. There are two sets of hairy leaf-like appendages below the flower. The first set (the sepals) is fused into a cup or tube just below the petals. The second set (the bracts) attach below the sepals. These 8-14 bracts are linear and 1.8-2.2 cm long. The flowers are creamy white with a deep red base and are 4.5-7 cm long. At maturity, the 1.6-2.8 cm long fruit is enclosed within the sepals.
The native soldier rose-mallow (Hibiscus laevis) and woolly rose-mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos) are common throughout East Texas and can appear similar to Neches River rose-mallow. However, Neches River rose-mallow is distinct with its hairless T-shaped leaves, narrow leaf lobes, and hairy bracts and sepals. Whereas, soldier rose-mallow has essentially hairless leaves, bracts, and sepals, and three broad leaf lobes (8-50 mm wide) and wooly rose-mallow has hairy oval-shaped leaves, absent (or broad) leaf lobes, and woolly bracts and sepals. Although both Neches River rose-mallow and woolly rose-mallow have hairs on their bracts and sepals, Neches River rose-mallow bracts have at least some erect hairs and woolly rose-mallow has a velvety mat of hairs on their bracts and sepals.
Neches River rose-mallow occurs at the edge of woodlands in open marshy habitats found in sloughs, oxbows, river terraces and sand bars. Despite its name, it has not been found along the Neches River. Instead, it prefers soils near standing water, which are inundated during the wet months of the winter and spring, but dry up at the surface during the summer.
Life Cycle Events
Flowering occurs from June to August.
As an herbaceous perennial, Neches River rose-mallow dies back in the fall when the leaves drop leaving a bare brown stem. New stems re-emerge from the base of the dead stems the following spring. The plant is most easily detected when in flower June to August.
- Norrell-Tober, J. 2017. Differentiating the Neches River Rose Mallow (Hibiscus dasycalyx) from its congeners by means of phylogenetic and population genetics. Master’s Thesis, University of Texas at Tyler.
- Klips, R.A. 1995. Genetic affinity of the rare eastern Texas endemic Hibiscus dasycalyx; (Malvaceae). American Journal of Botany 82: 1463-1472.
- Mendoza, E. A. 2004. Genetic diversity within Hibiscus dasycalyx, Hibiscus leavis and Hibiscus moscheutos utilizing ISSR techniques. Master’s Thesis, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX.
- Small, R.L. 2004. Phylogeny of Hibiscus sect. Muenchhusia (Malvaceae) based on chloroplast rpL16 and ndhF, and nuclear ITS and GBSSI sequences. Systematic Botany 29: 385-392.
- Wise, D. and M. Menzel. 1971. Genetic affinities of the North American species of Hibiscus sect. Trionum. Brittonia 23: 425-437.