Plant of the Week: Neches River mallow
The High Line’s planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew up between rail tracks after the trains stopped running in the 1980s. Today, the High Line includes more than 300 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees — chosen for their hardiness, adaptability, diversity, and seasonal variation in color and texture. Some of the species that originally grew on the High Line’s rail bed are reflected in the park landscape today.
This week we share with you one of our gardeners’ current favorites.
Neches River mallow, Hibiscus dasycalyx, is a species of hibiscus which gets its common name from the Neches River in Texas where examples of this rare plant can be found. In fact, there is only a short list of counties in eastern Texas where you can find naturally occurring Neches River mallow plants in the swampy areas of riverbeds, wetlands, and floodplains.
Neches River mallow is currently a candidate for the Endangered Species List, as only 2,000 individuals occur in the wild. For a variety of reasons, including the loss of wetland habitat, overgrazing by cattle, hybridization with other hibiscus species, and chemical pesticides, numbers of this species have been dwindling. Notably in recent years, droughts in Texas have created added stress on the remaining population.
WHERE TO SEE THIS PLANT
Visit the water feature on the Diller – von Furstenberg Sundeck, on the High Line between West 14th and West 15th Streets, to enjoy the white blooms of this rare plant.