Native plant of the month

Hibiscus heterophyllus – Native Rosella

Hibiscus (hi, or he,-BIS-cus) Latin name for Marsh Mallow. Heterophyllus (her-er-oh-FILL-us) refers to different leaves on same plant.

Native Rosella is a fast growing shrub up to 6 m high and 2 m wide.  It has an open habit with beautiful 10 cm white to pale pink flowers in Spring and early Summer followed by fruit from October to March.

Hibiscus heterophyllus grows in full or filtered sun and is adaptable to a variety of soil types.  It is attractive to a variety of wildlife and insects and is good bird refuge. Its fast growth rate makes it ideal for “Land for Wildlife” and re-vegetation projects..

In a garden, Hibiscus heterophyllus can be planted as a valued part of a native garden or can be planted in a row and pruned into a hedge, just be aware of their fine hairs and slightly prickly stems.

Native Rosella, as its name suggests, is also a bush food. The sour buds, while not quite as tasty as the true rosella, can be used for making jam. Additionally, the young parts of the plant can be used raw in salads.

All in all, Hibiscus heterophyllus is a versatile and valued native species.

Information provided by Coolum Community Native Nursery

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