Pink Swamp Mallow
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Pink Swamp Mallow
ative Photo: Asokan Mash
Common name: Pink Swamp Mallow, Creeping Pink Swamp Hibiscus, Musk Mallow, Ornamental Okra, Native Rosella
Botanical name: Abelmoschus sagittifolius    Family: Malvaceae (Mallow family)
Synonyms: Abelmoschus coccineus, Abelmoschus moschatus subsp. tuberosus

Pink Swamp Mallow is a delightful, soft, herbaceous trailing plant to 2 m in diameter with soft hairy stems. It has an underground tuber and dies back to this tuber in the dry season, emerging again with the first substantial rains of the wet season. It is a relative of the edible Okra and tubers and foliage were a source of food for Aborigines. The leaves are alternate, rough, hairy,heart-shaped or 3-5 lobed with serrated margins, 4-10cm x 4-8.5cm. Flowers are Hibiscus-like, usually watermelon pink but sometimes white or cream - always with a dark centre. Flowers last for one day only but are very prolific and are borne between October and April, flowering time depending on the timing of the wet season. Black seeds are held in hairy, tough but papery capsules. Pink Swamp Mallow is found in India, China, SE Asia and Australia. It is grown as a garden plant.

Identification credit: Asokan Mash Photographed in Kayamkulam, Kerala.

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