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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.

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Malvaviscus arboreus (Turkscap)
Lytle, Melody

Malvaviscus arboreus

Malvaviscus arboreus Dill. ex Cav.

Turkscap, Wax Mallow, Bleeding Hearts, Mexican Apple, Manzanita

Malvaceae (Mallow Family)


USDA Symbol: MAAR14

USDA Native Status: L48 (NI), HI (I), PR (I), VI (I)

This species includes botanical varieties that are North American natives. However, it also includes botanical varieties that are not native to North America, e.g. Malvaviscus arboreus var. arboreus, Wax Mallow. Non-native taxa are not treated in this database.

A coarse shrub, upper stems greenish and velvety to the touch, woody near the base. Occasional in light shade near streams. Leaves, including petioles, up to 5 inches or more long; blades as broad as long, broadly heart shaped to weakly 3 lobed, with broad teeth, upper surface dark green, lower surface lighter and velvety, palmately veined. Flowers showy, petals bright red, overlapping, 1 inch or more long, pistil and stamens forming a column protruding 3/4 inch beyond the petals, appearing mostly in late summer and fall. Fruit red, a 5 lobed capsule cupped in green remnants of the flower.

Turk’s Cap is a member of the mallow family (family Malvaceae), which includes herbs, shrubs, and rarely small trees. There are about 85 genera and 1,500 species, many in tropical America. Okra and the plant that produces cotton are also in this family.


From the Image Gallery

7 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Palmate
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Fruit Type: Berry , Schizocarp
Size Notes: Up to about 10 feet tall. Occasionally up to about 30 feet.
Fruit: Schizocarpic berries.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov


USA: AL , AR , FL , GA , HI , LA , MS , NC , SC , TX
Native Distribution: Introduced and local in the southeastern U.S., from Texas to North Carolina and south to the Florida Keys.
Native Habitat: Disturbed areas.


Deer Resistant: Moderate


Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Grows readily from seed, but they are hard to gather because they fall and get eaten so quickly. Also look under established plants in spring for seedlings to dig up.
Seed Treatment: Allow to dry whole and then crush the desiccated fruit with a rolling pin.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Need plants with red flowers to grow in shaded area in yard in Austin.
May 04, 2010
I have a shaded area where all the shrubs die. I would like to plant some flowers there instead of shrubs. What red flower plants can sustain a lot of shade.
view the full question and answer

Austin Shade Plants for Pots
March 28, 2010
I live in a condo in Austin Texas so I don't have any flower beds or yard space. I would like to put a few large pots of plants and flowers on my front patio but it's mostly shaded during the day. W...
view the full question and answer

Edible Native Plants for a Small Austin Garden
March 15, 2010
Hello Mr. Smarty Plants (or Mrs. or Miss, whomever is answering this go'round)! First off, thank you so much for all the help you have given me in the past. Secondly, the company my husband works ...
view the full question and answer

Native plant to replace invasive non-native nandina in Houston
February 28, 2010
I'm just now finding out that Nandinas are an invasive species from our local chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas. I have three of them in my front yard and want to replace them. Can you sug...
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Edible plants native to Austin, TX
August 05, 2009
Hello, I am a chef from Buenos Aires Argentina visiting Austin, Texas and would like to learn about native, edible plants in the region. Please let me know if there are any native, edible plants...
view the full question and answer

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 on display at the following locations:

Naval Air Station Kingsville - Kingsville, TX
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Patsy Glenn Refuge, c/o Wimberley Birding Society - Wimberley, TX
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 354 - Native & Naturalized Woody Plants of Austin & the Hill Country (1981) Lynch, D.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1993 VOL. 10, NO.2 - Berry Browsing in the Backyard, Director\'s Report, Essays on Trillium\'s, Natio...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Malvaviscus arboreus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Malvaviscus arboreus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Malvaviscus arboreus


Record Modified: 2023-02-17
Research By: TWC Staff

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