Random Plant: Flower-of-an-hour

Flower-of-an-hour (Hibiscus trionum, Malvaceae) photographed 09/23/2011 near Clayton Michigan.

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.

Flower-of-an-hour (Hibiscus trionum, Malvaceae) photographed 09/23/2011 near Clayton Michigan.

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.

Flower-of-an-hour (Hibiscus trionum, Malvaceae) photographed 09/23/2011 near Clayton Michigan.

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.

Flower-of-an-hour (Hibiscus trionum, Malvaceae) photographed 09/23/2011 near Clayton Michigan.

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.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Random Plant and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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