Malvaviscus arboreus

Malvaviscus arboreus Dell. ex. Cav.

Common Names: Wax Mallow, Turk's Turban

Habit: Malvaviscus arboreus grows as a pubescent shrub to 4 m in height. The leaves are arranged alternately, ovate to 25 cm in length, occasionally 3-lobed, with a toothed margin, acute/acuminate leaf apex.  The leaves have stellate pubescence.

The complete, perfect, actinomorphic flowers are solitary in leaf axils and subtended by bracts.  The calyx has 5, fused, green sepals. The corolla has 5, fused, pink or red petals that are twirled.  The petals do not open when the flower is mature and remain closed throughout the flowering period. Only the anthers and style/stigma emerge from the flower. There are numerous stamens fused together around the style in a column.  The ovary is superior with 5 locules and numerous seeds.  The fruit is a loculicidal capsule. 

Habitat: Malvaviscus arboreus grows in Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formations – Forest/Shrublands (coppice).

Distribution: Malvaviscus arboreus is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago but does occurs in the northern Pine islands.  It is native to Central and South America but now is throughout the Caribbean region and the southern United States as well as parts of Africa and Asia.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Malvaviscus arboreus is not known to be used medicinally in the Bahamas.

It is in the horticultural trade and is good for attracting birds and butterflies.

The fruits are edible.