Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.
Search native plant database:
Marcus, Joseph A.
Kosteletzkya virginica (L.) C. Presl ex A. Gray
Virginia saltmarsh mallow, Virginia fen-rose, Seashore mallow, Salt Marsh-mallow
Synonym(s): Kosteletzkya althaeifolia, Kosteletzkya pentacarpos, Kosteletzkya smilacifolia, Kosteletzkya virginica var. althaeifolia, Kosteletzkya virginica var. aquilonia
USDA Symbol: kovi
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
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.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Subshrub 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.
Brown Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
Bloom Notes: Flowers close at night.
, VA Native Distribution:
Coastal areas from MD
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
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:
Short-lived, only to about 5 years, so allow seedlings to establish as the plant seeds out.
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
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
Record Last Modified: 2013-09-11
Research By: BJG