Water-saving Native Plant of The Week: Turk's Camp
THE WOODLANDS, TX -- Water-saving Native Plant of The Week, by Bob Dailey... Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii). This beautiful plant is a native perennial and is uses both as a spreading shrub or a tall ground cover. It will grow 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 said to resemble a Turkish turban, hence its most common name, Turks cap. Especially useful in shady situations. Grows in any soil from sand to clays and limestone that is well drained and on the dry side. In nature it is found growing in shade to part shade in woodland settings. Turk’s cap is a good ornamental for shady sites. Cultivars have been selected for white and pink blooms and variegated foliage. Many types of wildlife use this plant. The nectar is used by hummingbirds, butterflies, moths and other insects while the red fruits are eaten by birds and mammals. The fruit is edible either raw or cooked, tasting rather like apple, hence its Spanish name, Manzanilla (Little Apple). Photo by Lee Page, courtesy of Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.