Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii)

March 12, 2016

Turk’s Cap is a drought-resistant member of the Malvaceae family, which also includes hibiscus, cotton and various mallows, among others.  It forms a multi-branching bush that grows several feet high, but can be pruned back to a desired size.  It can grow in full sun to deep shade, with a long bloom season through summer and into fall.  The flowers consist of approximately 2 inch long petals that fold into each other and create a tight bloom that doesn’t “open”.  The bright red flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds and put on a striking summer show.

Image Source: http://almostedenplants.com/shopping/images/full/Malvaviscus%20arboreus%20var%20drummondii.jpg

Turk’s Cap gets it’s informal name from it’s flower that resembles a fez, the type of hat previously worn by some Turkish men (you may have seen them worn in Shriner parades in the U.S). The plant’s variety name ‘drummondii’  is named after Thomas Drummond the Scottish botanist who curated the Belfast Botanic Garden in the early 1800’s.  Drummond arrived in Texas in 1833 (when Texas was still part of Northern Mexico) and over 21 months collected over 2,000 specimens of plants that he sent to Sir William Jackson Hooker, the founder of Kew Botanical Gardens in London.  Drummond’s collection was the first from Texas to be distributed to museums and scientific institutions around the world and there are 28 other Texas plant species named in his honor.

Image Source: http://s3.amazonaws.com/dallasgardens-assets/content_photos/3054/Turks_cap_wm_SMALL_plant_detail.jpg

You can find Turk’s Cap HERE when in stock, or check with your local nursery.

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