Kosteletzkya virginica (L.) C. Presl ex A. Gray
Virginia saltmarsh mallow, Virginia fen-rose, Seashore mallow, Salt Marsh-mallow
Malvaceae (Mallow Family)
Synonym(s): Kosteletzkya althaeifolia, Kosteletzkya pentacarpos, Kosteletzkya smilacifolia, Kosteletzkya virginica var. althaeifolia, Kosteletzkya virginica var. aquilonia
USDA Symbol: KOVI
A coarse, hairy perennial, Virginia fen-rose or seashore mallow is much-branched and angular in habit. A large plant with pink, terminal or axillary, stalked flowers with yellow stamens. It grows 3-5 ft. tall and spreads to 4 ft. in width. Its leaves are triangular-ovate with triangular lobes at the base. The hibiscus-like flowers are light pink and 3 in. across with a central column of yellow stamens.
This Mallow is especially abundant in southern Louisiana. It is distinguished from Hibiscus by the flat ring of fruit segments. K. altheaeifolia, found on east coast of Texas, is recognized by some botanists as separate species; others regard it as a variety of K. virginica.
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Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Size Notes: Normally 4 to 6 feet at maturity, which it reaches in about 5 years. Once its reached this height, its life is nearing its end, as it only lives about 5 years.
Leaf: Grayish green
Flower: Flowers 2 inches wide.
Size Class: 3-6 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
Bloom Notes: Flowers close at night.
DistributionUSA: AL , DE , FL , GA , LA , MD , MS , NC , NJ , NY , PA , SC , TX , VA
Native Distribution: Coastal areas from MD to FL to TX to Cuba
Native Habitat: Brackish marshes; coastal plains; swamps
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2) , Acidic (pH<6.8)
Drought Tolerance: Low
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Prefers sand, but will tolerate clay. Moderately salt tolerant, though does best with high acidity.
Conditions Comments: Seashore mallow adapts to less saline soils. The plant grows in brackish, swampy conditions, shallow standing water, or regular garden soil.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Great for color in late summer through fall.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Butterflies , Hummingbirds
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: Minimal
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds , Softwood Cuttings
Description: Seeds germinate easily, particularly in warm (70 degree) soils. Tip cuttings, taken before flowering, will root.
Seed Collection: Wait for the capsule to turn brown and split open before collecting seed. Mature seeds are smooth and dark brown. It may be necessary to dis-infest seeds of weevils before storing in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: Soak the night before planting.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Short-lived, only to about 5 years, so allow seedlings to establish as the plant seeds out.
From the National Suppliers DirectoryAccording to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Native Plant Nursery - Sanibel, FL
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-1280 Collected 2013-07-11 in Brazoria County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
BibliographyBibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
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Recommended Species Lists
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Kosteletzkya virginica in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Kosteletzkya virginica in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Kosteletzkya virginica
MetadataRecord Modified: 2013-09-11
Research By: BJG