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Turk's Cap (native)
Turk's Cap (native)
Turk's Cap (native)

Turk's Cap (native)

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Turk’s Cap, Native
Scientific Name: Malvaviscus arboreus var. Drummondii

History/general species info: The plant’s variety name ‘drummondii’  is named after Scottish botanist, Thomas Drummond.  Drummond arrived in Texas in 1833 (when Texas was still part of Northern Mexico) and over 21 months collected over 2,000 specimens of plants. His collection was the first from Texas to be distributed to museums and scientific institutions around the world. There are 28 other Texas plant species named in his honor. The plant gets its informal name from its flower that resembles a fez, the type of hat previously worn by some Turkish men  - you may have seen them worn in Shriner parades in the U.S.. 

Characteristics: Small shrub. Fast growing. Semi-evergreen. Heat tolerant, but prefers part shade. Grows in loam, sand, clay and limestone. Texas Superstar®. It isn’t easy to become a Texas Superstar® plant. Only the toughest, most reliable and best-looking plants make the cut. Every plant earning the Texas Superstar® designation undergoes several years of extensive field trials by Texas A&M. Understory plant. Moderately deer resistant. One of Texas' best loved and most used ornamentals that flowers year round in the coast bend. The marble-size red fruit is said to be edible, having a mealy taste, and is enjoyed by a number of birds and animals. The flowers provide nectar to ruby-throated hummingbirds and several species of butterflies. 

Native: yes

Flower: yes; red, pink, white

Planting / Care: Grows at a fast rate, in all soil types. Prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn't be allowed to dry out. Cut back annually for a more bushy specimen.  Roots easily from cuttings taken in late spring or summer.

Size and Spacing: Height: 2-3’ Spread: 3-5’

Light requirement: Sun/ Shade*

Wildlife: birds, butterflies, hummingbirds. 

Links:
Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center
https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=MAARD

Texas Native Plants Data Base
https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/ornamentals/nativeshrubs/malvaviscusdrum.htm

Photo credit: Pamela Larson and Ernie Edmonson