Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - A Rose by anyother name

Well, a rose by name may not be a rose, like a rose-of-Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) Mallow family, as the flower so aptly shows.  The common name refers to a place, Sharon, in Palestine, and the rose-of-Sharon is a woman from there, referring herself in Solomon 2:1 if you like Biblical references, but this is not the plant being referred to which was more likely a sun-rose, Cistaceae.  This Hibiscus is of Asian origin.  Sorry, don't have my Plants of the Bible reference book handy. This particular plant grows as a small to medium sized shrub, and it has the great advantage of flowering in the late summer for several weeks.  This particular variety (?) has a single flower with non-overlapping petals.  Many other varieties exist and you can often find very old plants as this ornamental has been around a long time. Many have more purplish/bluish flowers and if they are doubled, they quickly begin looking like a wad of tissue. It's only problem, as a mallow the Japanese beetle find it quite appealing although ours has not been much bothered this year.  The plant is quite cold hardy, maybe not quite hardy to the bottom of zone 5.  Our plant works well in a mixed perennial bed even when a bit short because the flowers while not huge are pretty big (4" in diam). The white with bold red markings is pretty striking.

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