Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Turkscap, Drummond's Turkscap, Drummond Turkscap, Wax Mallow, Drummond's Wax Mallow, Drummond Wax Mallow, Red Mallow, Texas Mallow, Mexican Apple, Sleeping Hibiscus, Bleeding Hearts, Manzanilla

Malvaceae (Mallow Family)

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (Turkscap)
Northington, David K.
This spreading shrub, often as broad as high, grows 2-3 ft., sometimes reaching 9 ft. Bright-red, pendant, hibiscus-like flowers never fully open, their petals overlapping to form a loose tube with the staminal column protruding, said to resemble a Turkish turban, hence its most common name, Turks cap. Especially useful in shady situations.

The variety name of this plant is named for Thomas Drummond, (ca. 1790-1835), naturalist, born in Scotland, around 1790. In 1830 he made a trip to America to collect specimens from the western and southern United States. In March, 1833, he arrived at Velasco, Texas to begin his collecting work in that area. He spent twenty-one months working the area between Galveston Island and the Edwards Plateau, especially along the Brazos, Colorado, and Guadalupe rivers. His collections were the first made in Texas that were extensively distributed among the museums and scientific institutions of the world. He collected 750 species of plants and 150 specimens of birds. Drummond had hoped to make a complete botanical survey of Texas, but he died in Havana, Cuba, in 1835, while making a collecting tour of that island.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Palmate
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Size Notes: 2-9
Leaf: Light to medium green. Some cultivars have variegated leaves of white and green.
Flower: Flowers 2 to 3 inches
Fruit: Dark red 1 inch
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Red
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov
Bloom Notes: Red flowers usually are produced in showy profusion during hot weather at the end of summer and early fall. White-flowered cultivars have been produced.


USA: AL , AR , FL , GA , LA , MS , SC , TX
Native Distribution: Central Texas east to Florida and Cuba, north to Arkansas and South Carolina, south through Mexico to the Yucatan and Chiapas. Other varieties of the species continue south through Central America to South America.
Native Habitat: Found along streams, on the edges of woods, and on wooded limestone slopes and ledges.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Dry
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Sandy, loamy, clay, and limestone soils. Moist, well-drained, woodland soils best.
Conditions Comments: Drought tolerant. Prefers partially shady sites. Under cultivation, Turk’s cap will adapt to and thrive in many different sites, including full sun and heavy soil, though unremitting sun will cause its leaves to become rougher, smaller, darker, and puckered.


Use Ornamental: Turk’s cap is a good ornamental for shady sites. Cultivars have been selected for white blooms and variegated foliage.
Use Wildlife: Nectar-hummingbirds, Nectar-butterflies, Nectar-moths, Nectar-insects, Fruit-birds, Fruit-mammals
Use Food: The fruit is edible either raw or cooked, tasting rather like apple, hence its Spanish name, Manzanilla (Little Apple).
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds , Hummingbirds , Butterflies
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: Moderate

Last Update: 2016-04-18