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Malvaviscus drummondii

common name > Malvaviscus drummondii

Latin Name: Malvaviscus drummondii

Synonyms: Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Common Name: Turks' Cap, Drummond Wax-mallow, Texas Mallow, Mexican Apple, Red Mallow, Bleeding Heart


Cool Facts: Master Gardener's in Lufkin tell stories about several acres of "dangerous" Turk's cap in the Piney Woods. The area attracts so many hummingbirds that it also has become a draw for poisonous snakes who learned to hunt them.

Common Uses: This is not a commonly used herb, but I just had to put it in for its hummingbird magnet abilities. The TAMU web site says "Its leaves have been used as an emollient and in Mexico the flowers are used in a decoction to treat inflammation of the digestive tract and as a menstrual aid." Cut up the fresh leaves and put them in a glass jar, then pour cool water over the leaves. Let soak for about 6 to 8 hours for a bladder-soothing or GI-soothing tea. Ok, the flavor is not that great. Add some fruit juice for flavor.

Family: Malvaceae

Parts Used: Leaves, Flowers; the flowers are edible.

Habitat: Native to Southeastern US and all over Central and South America.

Varieties: Red or white-flowering.

Type: Herbaceous perennial where it freezes, evergreen in frost-free areas.

Size: Will grow up to 9 feet tall in frost-free areas; grows to about 4' x 4' in areas where it freezes.

Spacing for Production: 2'

Site and Zone: Partial-shade to full-sun; Z7, Z8, Z9, Z10. Drought-tolerant but also tolerated Houston gumbo.

Soil: any-garden-soil; acid-soil.

Will it Grow in Texas?: Yes, it's a Texas native.

Propagation: Roots by division, cuttings or seeds.

Bugs & Problems: Hummingbirds love them. They are fairly easy to grow in dappled shade in East Texas. Needs a little bit of extra water in a dry spell. Deer resistant.

Bloom time: Flowers bloom all year long in frost-free areas; all summer and into the fall where it freezes.

Landscaping: Nice to grow amongst deciduous trees as a tall ground cover. Put a bird bath nearby and you have a wonderful hummingbird and butterfly magnet. The red fruit is edible, appreciated by a number of wild birds.

Websites for photos and more info:
Texas Native Shrubs by Texas A & M University
Foraging Texas Turk's Cap
Texas Medicinals Turk's Cap Medicinal Minute

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