Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - September 07, 2010

From: Kerr, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Information about a red-flowered Pavonia lasiopetala in central TX.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have grown Pavonia for years and just let it re-seed where it wants (and remove if I don't want it where it falls). This year I created a new 6 inch raised bed amended with compost and some manure (and bone meal since this is to be primarity an iris bed) below the existing pavonias. I left the new plants and they have bloomed beautifully this summer. Here's the question: in the midst of this bed of about 9 pavonias is one pavonia that is a different color - I would call it red. I have checked carefully and it is indeed a separate plant from the others. What caused this? Have I stumbled upon a new hybrid? I have a photo if you care to see it.

ANSWER:

Pavonia lasiopetala (Texas swampmallow), most commonly known as Rock Rose, is a native of Texas and Northern Mexico which typically bears pink flowers ranging from soft, baby pink to carmine rose.  The flower color of Rock Rose is usually a very attractive hot pink.  Since this is the only species of Pavonia commonly grown in Central and West Texas, this is probably the plant in your garden.  A red-flowered Rock Rose would indeed be an unusual find.

Many plants bear flowers of colors different from the norm for that species.  White-colored flowers are common on many species that normally bear flowers of other colors.  The causes of color variations can be genetic, nutritional, or a result of pathogenic processes.  Whatever the cause, plant enthusiasts often highly prize plants bearing flowers of a truly new color.

We have not seen a Pavonia lasiopetala with true red flowers.  Such a plant would probably be quite valuable in horticulture.  However, you should first ascertain that your plant is truly a Rock Rose.  There are red-flowered mallows native to Texas that could easily be confused with Rock Rose.  Please see our Plant Identification webpage for complete instructions on how to submit images for ID,

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Fungi in the flower bed
October 01, 2007 - Found a strange thing in my flower bed, while tilling. It was egg shape, white, with a little purple, soft but tough like leather on the outside, with a small 2 inch root. Curiosity got me so I cut it...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification.
May 23, 2009 - Looking for the name of a green, bamboo-like plant with narrow leaves. Have no pictures.
view the full question and answer

Differences between Ratibida columnifera and Ratibida peduncularis
June 03, 2010 - How do you tell the difference between Ratibida columnifera and Ratibida peduncularis. On NPIN columnifera has red and penduncularis is solid yellow, but I have seen pictures listed as columnifera tha...
view the full question and answer

Help identify a plant.
February 21, 2008 - Could you help me to identify this plant?
view the full question and answer

Identity of vine with orangish flowers
July 09, 2014 - I am looking to ID what I believe is a vine growing plant that blooms orangish flowers. I have pictures of the plant, and have attempted to use multiple plant ID websites. But have been unsuccessful. ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.