As I’ve said before, I am very appreciative of the plants that came with my house.
Some of them are wild plants that migrated in from the fields and woods.
Others like the Turk’s Cap Mallow (which is native to only two counties in Mississippi) were probably planted.
In midsummer during my first year of residence, I noticed that the hummingbirds and sulfur butterflies flocked to a cluster of mounding plants with scarlet pinwheel shaped flowers.
The flower color seemed incredibly intense against the healthy lobed deep green leaves.
I knew immediately that this was some sort of hibiscus relative. A little research led me to conclude that my mystery plant was Turk’s Cap Mallow (Malvaviscus arboreus).
My brand new feist dog puppy at the time weighed only a couple of pounds but was mean as a snake. As we brainstormed for a flower name for the puppy we settled on Malva or “Malva Viscious” (no relation to Sid).
So that year I was out in the garden hollering for “Malva” I also spent hours trying to capture the perfect hummer shot on film. The Turk’s Cap bloomed from mid summer into the autumn. I spent quality time with the mallow and used her name quite often. I was smitten.
Some might think that the startling flower color could be difficult to use in a landscape design.
I have, however, noticed that it perfectly compliments creamy yellow butterflies as well as emerald green ruby throated hummingbirds.
As I wrote this post, I learned that the flowers are edible and can be used as a garnish or steeped to make a tea.
The red pulpy fruit looks like a tiny heirloom tomato and is edible as well.
I plan to make a pot of tea this week. I’ll garnish a salad soon with a few flowers. And later in the season I will sample the fruit.
I will report back regarding my culinary adventures!