Written by: Engineering Conservation Crew

For this special species, you may think, this is a native Wisconsin flower? The answer is yes! Swamp rose mallow has a deep purple and reddish spiral like center with 5 ovular holes around the outside of it. The stamens sprout out form the center drawing attention to the middle of the flower. However, the beauty continues with 5 clam looking white (can also be pale pink) leaves.

According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, butterflies and moths use it as a larval host plant while the seeds are eaten by many species of songbirds. The Red Winged Black Bird and other small creatures are known to use this large and sturdy plant as a location for their nests. Also, the flowers attract a variety of hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. This includes its friend, the Rose Mallow bee. This species of bee evolved alongside the Swamp rose mallow, and as such, has specialized as one of its most effective pollinators. This plant would be a great addition to any garden or prairie that is sunny, moist and somewhat wet and slightly acidic sites.

Each week during the growing season, the Engineering Division focuses in on a Plant of the Week to raise awareness of different plants in the field that benefit our environment. The Engineering crews in the field tasked with conservation share expert insight on these plants and their benefits each week in a creative way!

swamp rose

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Engineering and a link back to the original post.