The Neches River rose mallow (Hibiscus dasycalyx) is a federally listed threatened native hibiscus that now only exists in three watersheds in east Texas (USFWS 2010). This hibiscus has delicate slender leaves and creamy white flowers with dark burgundy eyes. Educational display specimens of Hibiscus dasycalyx and associated interpretive panels are on display for the public within Mercer Botanic Gardens’ Endangered Species and Native Plant Garden.
An east Texas endemic. Four extant populations are known. Four formerly documented populations have not been recently observed. The species has been introduced at four other sites. Populations have been subjected to heavy herbicide use in the past, and that, along with mowing, continues to be a threat. In addition, all of the occurrences are subject to genetic swamping by more common Hibiscus species that are perhaps better adapted to human-disturbed conditions.
All management actions including canopy thinning, habitat restoration, invasive species removal, population monitoring, herbivore management, prescribed burns should be or are being utilized for the management of existing natural and introduced populations. Since some populations are located on private lands, guidance and assistance to landowners is essential.
Threats from climate change support the need for more research, seed banking and consideration of translocation of plant species. Mercer Botanic Gardens maintains wild-collected seed from several wild populations of Hibiscus dasycalyx for the CPC’s National Collection of Endangered Plants.
The conservation experts at CPC participating institutions such as the Mercer Botanic Gardens share their in-depth conservation expertise about rare plants through CPC’s National Collection Plant Profiles.
Learn more about the Neches River rose mallow.
Neches River Rose-mallow photo credit: S. Chapman Mercer Botanical