Hibiscus Laevis

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Hibiscus laevis belongs to the Malvaceaefamily and is also known as the Halberd-leaf Rosemallow. It is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant which originated from eastern and central North America.


Hibiscus laevis has unbranched stems which are hairless and round. They often grow to be around two meters in height, or occasionally taller. The root system is made up of a tap root. The leaves are hairless, alternate and divided into three to five pointed lobes with crenate or serrate edges. The three-lobed leaves often look like a medieval halberd because the central lobe is so much larger than the two lobes on either side of it. The five-lobed leaves also closely resemble daggers or halberds. This plant is easily identifiable because of these distinctively shaped leaves.

Flowers and fruits

The flowers are borne in small clusters that are found at the tops of the higher stems. They are quite large and can have a diameter of fifteen centimetres when they are fully open. They are extremely colourful, and are usually light pink or white in colour, but the throat of the flower is often a rich, purplish pink or maroon colour.
Each flower is made up of five petals and below each flower are five green, hairless sepals. There are several stamens that are all combined to the central stalk. The pistils have five stigmas and superior ovaries. These flowers bloom from around mid-summer to early fall and this blooming period lasts for about a month. Each flower is short lived, and only lives for one day.

The fruit produced is an ovoid capsule that contains many seeds within it. This plant reproduces be reseeding itself. The stalks die when winter comes around and they grow back only in the spring.


When growing this plant, you need to plant it in partial sun with moist conditions. It is capable of growing in clay soil or sandy soil as long as it has enough water, and is quite tolerant of poor drainage. It prefers fertile soil. The flowers need to be exposed to full sunlight in order to open up fully. The leaves often fall off if conditions are too dry. They are often found growing near streams, lakes and ponds, and in roadside ditches, marshy areas and occasionally in shallow, standing water.


This plant can be seen in many areas of Illinois, with the exceptions of northern Illinois as well as some central areas of Illinois. Habitats in which these plants thrive are muddy shores, soggy islands, marshes, rivers and swamps. It is uncommon to find this plant growing in highly disturbed areas, usually due to the soil not providing it with enough moisture.


Due to the fact that this plant has big, beautiful flowers that can be seen from quite a distance, these plants are very popular in many homes and gardens. Although they re short lived flowers, people never seem to tire of having this flower in their garden as during the blooming period it gives a lovely foliage color.

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Author: Tammy Sons

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