Scientific name

Hibiscus L.

Common names

swamp rosemallow, water hibiscus, mahoe



Could be confused with

not easily confused with any other genus, especially when flowering

Native distribution

tropical to temperate regions of world

Species commonly cultivated

Hibiscus acetosella Welw. ex. Hiern. (Africa)

H. coccineus Walt. (southeastern U.S.)

H. moscheutos L. (U.S.)

H. tiliaceus L. (littoral tropics: Africa, Asia, Mexico, Pacific, South America)

H. trionum L. (Africa, Asia, Europe)

Adventive distribution

information not available; many species and cultivars grown around the world as ornamentals

Weed status

Hibiscus trionum L. is a weed in Australia and is listed as a noxious weed in some states in the United States.


erect herb, shrub, or small tree

Brief description

Annual or perennial. Erect bush to small tree. Leaves alternate, simple. petiolate; leaf blade ovate to lanceolate, often palmately lobed; margin often toothed or serrate. Inflorescence axillary, a cyme or solitary. Flowers usually solitary, sometimes axillary or in terminal aggregations, large and showy, trumpet-shaped; epicalyx present or fused with calyx; calyx 5-lobed; petals 5, color variable, often pink to red. Dispersal of stem fragments by water or seeds by water or animals.

Natural habitat

riparian, littoral zone, mostly in shallow areas