A few days ago I came across a rather interesting plant I hadn’t seen before. This individual was growing alone near some landscape rocks at a friend’s house here in southeast Michigan. I keyed it out as a flower-of-an-hour (Hibiscus trionum, Malvaceae). The common name comes from the fact that the flowers open only briefly.
The deeply-divided leaves are made up of three main lobes, making for some unique foliage. The leaves and stems are covered in fine short hairs to varying degrees.
Each calyx is made up of five sepals which house the developing seeds. The dark red veins really stand out against the green of the plant. Both the sepals and petals occur in fives.
The flowers themselves are quite attractive. The yellow pollen on the stamens stands out against the purple of the inner petals, which in turn is striking against the pure white outer petals. These large, showy flowers make them attractive to some people as garden plants. Intentionally spreading them is discouraged, however, since these herbs were introduced from Eurasia and are somewhat invasive. Considering this reputation, I was surprised I hadn’t noticed them anywhere before.