The Halberd-leaf Rosemallow (Hibiscus
laevis, syn. Hibiscus militaris) is a herbaceous perennial flower native
to central and eastern North America. Their showy, creamy-white or pink
flowers are large, up to 15 cm, and are hard to miss. These flowers
require exposure to sunlight to open up properly, and then last only a
The unbranched stems of this plant are round and hairless, frequently
growing to 2 m tall and sometimes taller. The root system includes a
The hairless leaves are alternate, 7-15 cm long, divided into 3-5
pointed lobes (cleft) and have serrate or crenate edges. They are simple
and pointed at the tip. The leaves with three lobes resemble a medieval
halberd because the middle lobe is much larger than the two side lobes.
The five-lobed leaves also look like halberds or daggers.
Flowers are solitary or occur in small clusters at the tops of the
upper stems. They are fairly large, with a diameter of about 15 cm when
fully open. They are mostly white or light pink, but the inside throat
of the flower is often maroon or a rich purplish pink color. Each flower
has five petals with five hairless green sepals below. There are
numerous stamens, all attached to a central column. The pistils have
superior ovaries and five stigmas protruding from the central column in
the flower. The fruit is an ovoid capsule containing many seeds.
The blooming period can occur from mid-summer to early fall (June to
September) and lasts about a month. Each flower lasts only a single day.
This plant spreads by reseeding itself. The stalks die down in the
winter and grow back in the spring.
This plant prefers full or partial sun and moist conditions. It can
grow in sand or clay with sufficient moisture, and can tolerate poor
drainage. They are frequently found along streams, ponds and lakes and
in marshy areas, roadside ditches, and sometimes in shallow standing
The seeds of this plant are eaten by waterfowl and Bobwhite quail.