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deciduous, multi-stemmed, erect-growing, densely branched shrub in the Mallow family (Malvaceae) reaching up to 10 feet in height with a pyramidal crown. Light gray-brown stems have raised leaf scars, hairy stiplues and small buds. Ovate green leaves are 2 to 3 inches long, palmately veined from the base, alternate, simple, coarsely serrated and often three-lobed. Showy, 5-petaled flowers range from white to reddish-purple, 3 to 4 inches across, and bloom during the summer months. The flowers are perfect (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects and hummingbirds. Brown seeds develop in an ovate, pointed, dry capsule, 3/4 inch long and wide, ripening in late summer and fall. This prolific seeder has a deep taproot that is difficult to remove once the plant is 2-3 years old. It reproduces primarily by seed.
Native Origin: eastern Asia- China to India; introduced as an ornamental and often used as hedging. The plant has been common in US gardens since 18th century. It has escaped intended plantings to invade, crowd out and displace more desirable native plants. Habitat: It grows in full sun to light shade and invades waste areas, disturbed ground, forest, and forest edges.
Spotted growing on a wooded drive near an old church and cemetery and a utility plant.
Spotted on Jun 23, 2013
Submitted on Oct 17, 2013