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.