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Malvaviscus drummondii (M. arboreus var. drummondii)
This spreading shrub, often as broad as high, grows 2-3 ft., sometimes reaching 9 ft. Bright-red, pendant, hibiscus-like flowers never fully open, their petals overlapping to form a loose tube with the staminal column protruding, said to resemble a Turkish turban, hence its most common name, Turks cap.
Wildlife habitat yard.
Turk's Cap are a wonderful source of foods. The young, tender leaves can be used like spinach but cook them to soften their texture. Steaming, sautéing, boiling, or stir-frying are all good ways to cook these leaves. Actually, boiling is a terrible way to cook just about any leafy green but so be it. The flowers are also wonderful raw, tasting like honeysuckle. The flowers are loaded with nectar at mid-morning and again in mid-afternoon. Watch the hummingbirds, they'll often swarm the plant when the flowers are at their sweetest. These flowers can also be used either fresh or dried to make tea. The fruit is ripe when it is dark reddish-orange with no white skin present. These fruit taste like apples but with very little tartness, mainly just a light sweetness. They and their seeds can be eaten raw though the seeds are better if lightly toasted. The berries can also be made into jelly, jam, wine, or dehydrated. Merriwether's Guide to Edible Wild Plants of Texas and the Southwest