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Neches River rose-mallow Hibiscus dasycalyx
ESA status: threatened
The Neches River rose-mallow, considered one of the rarest plants in East Texas, is a shrubby perennial that grows 3-7 feet tall. Like other Hibiscus, the Neches River rose-mallow produces large, showy flowers. Each blossom is 3 to 6 inches wide with five 2-to-4-inch-long creamy-white petals and a deep red or purple center. The plant generally blooms from June to September. The flower grows in wetland areas exposed to open sun. Occupied sites typically hold standing water for much of the growing season and are generally within the immediate floodplains of rivers, or adjacent to ponds, sloughs, and oxbows. Unfortunately, habitat loss and degradation have reduced the plant to just a few small areas that support no more than a few thousand individuals.
The Neches River rose-mallow is present in four Texas counties: Cherokee, Houston, Harrison, and Trinity. Most remaining plants grow at four sites on the Davy Crockett National Forest. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service first designated the Neches River rose-mallow as a candidate for protection under the Endangered Species Act in 1980. This rare Texas flower must compete with chinese tallow, a nonnative tree species, for space, light, and nutrients. Its wetland habitat is threatened by development and stream channelization. Herbicides are a danger to 7 of the existing 11 populations. Climate change is expected to alter habitat conditions for the plant, and drought is already affecting habitat quality and reproductive success. Further conservation efforts will be required to save this lovely blossom from extinction.
- Significant Actions
- April 2009 - "America's Top 40" (report)
- May 2011- Neches River rose-mallow included in landmark settlement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- September 2012 - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to list the Neches River rosemallow as “threatened”
- September 2013 - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists the Neches river rose-mallow as “threatened.”
- September 2013 - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designates critical habitat for the Neches river rose-mallow.
- Press Releases
- April 30, 2009 - "America's Top 40: Full of Sad Songs for Endangered Species"
- November 10, 2010 - "Federal Endangered Species Listing Program Still Lags"
- May 10, 2011 - “Hope for Endangered Species Act Candidates”
- September 9, 2011 - “Federal Court Approves Historic Species Agreement"
- September 10, 2012 - “Feds Propose to Protect Texas Plants under Endangered Species Act”
- Species Factsheet
- Related Campaigns