The Neches River rose-mallow (Hibiscus dasycalyx) is a wetland associated and nonwoody perennial in the Malvaceae (mallow) family. The species can grow to about 2-8 feet tall and produce hundreds of flowers per plant. Pollinating species may include, but are not limited to: the American bumble bee (Bombus pensylvanicus), Hibiscus bee (Ptilothrix bombiformis), moths, and the scentless plant bug (Niesthrea louisianica) (Klips 1995, Warnock 1995, Warriner 2011). Flowering is rain dependent, spanning a few weeks in June and July. Proximity to sloughs, oxbows, terraces, and sand bars of depressional or low-lying areas in the Neches River floodplains, Mud Creek, or Tatanbogue Creek are thought to aid in seed dispersal and are an essential feature of its habitat. This plant is endemic to the open, wetland habitats of the East Texas Pineywoods ecoregion where the canopy is open with little cover. Soils associated with these wetlands sites are hydric alluvial or sandy loams in the Inceptisol or Entisol orders. At a minimum, the soil surface dries out during the summer months.
When the species was listed as threatened with critical habitat in 2013, 11 populations of Neches River rose-mallow were known. Several planted populations (introductions) exist as well. Stressors that may impact the species include, but are not limited to: hybridization between two common similar plants, H. leavis and H. moscheutos; hydrologic changes within the habitat; habitat encroachment from native and nonnative species; and, potential affects from. Currently conservation efforts underway include seed banking, monitoring, and propagation/reintroduction with associated research. Service partnerships with private landowners and entities, Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Mercer Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, universities, and more, have made these efforts possible.
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