Abelmoschus moschatus ssp. tuberosus Malvaceae

Native Rosella

Form and Size: Herbaceous trailing plant to 2m in diameter, with soft, hairy stems

Distribution: Across northern Australia; in open woodlands

Leaves:  Alternate, rough, hairy, heart-shaped or 3-5 lobed, serrated margins, 4-10cm x 4-8.5cm

Flowers: Hibiscus-like, usually watermelon pink but variable – sometimes white or yellow with a dark centre

Flowering Period: November to April, on the arrival of the seasonal wet

Fruit:  Capsules, hairy & woody

Distinctive Features: Underground tuber, dormant during the dry season
This plant is related to the edible Okra and is eaten by Aborigines

Cultivation/Notes:  Tuber should be kept dry during the dry season. May be grown from seeds, tubers or stem cuttings.

The photo below shows the fine display produced by 4 small Abelmoschus moschatus plants in a sunny Townsville garden.

Photo: Keith Townsend