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Turk's Cap
Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

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. It is especially useful in shady situations.
Oddly, in full sun it may get mildew which crinkles the leaves. There is a white flowered form and a variegated leaf, red blooming form. The combination of the red and white plants together provide an interesting shady accent. There is also a newer variety called, 'Pam's Pink.'
In North Central Texas' black clay, a well-established turk's cap is exceedingly difficult to dig up due to its very tough, dense and deep roots. Its leaves have been used as an emmolient and in Mexico the flowers are used in a decoction to treat inflammation of the digestive tract and as a menstrual aid. The marble-size red fruit is edible, having a mealy taste, and is enjoyed by a number of birds and animals. The flowers provide nectar to eager ruby-throated hummingbirds and several species of butterflies. Livestock occasionally browse the leaves. Malvaviscus is from a Greek word meaning "sticky mallow".
Plant Turk's cap in partial sun to shade giving it plenty of space to spread.


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