Photo credit: Greg Wieland
Neches River rose-mallow (Hibiscus dasycalyx) | ESA status: threatened
Neches River rose-mallow
One of the rarest plants in East Texas, the Neches River rose-mallow needs all the help it can get to avoid extinction.
Neches River rose-mallow facts
The Neches River rose-mallow is a shrubby perennial that grows from three to seven feet tall. Like other hibiscus, it produces large, showy flowers. Each blossom is three to six inches wide, with five two- to four-inch-long creamy-white petals and a deep red or purple center. The flower grows in wetland areas exposed to open sun.
Neches River rose-mallow habitat
The Neches River rose-mallow is present in four Texas counties: Cherokee, Houston, Harrison, and Trinity. Most remaining plants grow at four sites on the Davy Crockett National Forest. Occupied sites typically hold standing water for much of the growing season and are generally within the immediate floodplains of rivers or adjacent to ponds, sloughs, and oxbows.
What are the threats to the Neches River rose-mallow?
Unfortunately, habitat loss and degradation have reduced this plant’s habitat to just a few small areas that support no more than a few thousand individuals. It must compete with Chinese tallow, a nonnative tree species, for space, light, and nutrients. Its wetland habitat is threatened by development and stream channelization. Herbicides are a danger to seven of the existing 11 populations. Climate change is expected to alter habitat conditions for the plant, and drought is already affecting habitat quality and reproductive success.
Historical Significant Actions
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists the Neches River rose-mallow as “threatened.” September 2013
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designates critical habitat for the Neches River rose-mallow September 2013
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to list the Neches River rose-mallow as “threatened” September 2012
Neches River rose-mallow included in landmark settlement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service May 2011
“America’s Top 40” (report) April 2009
Wildlife Press: Neches River rose-mallow
Feds Propose to Protect Texas Plants under Endangered Species Act
Texas Golden Gladecress, Neches River Rose-mallow Threatened by Habitat Loss, Small PopulationsRead more >
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