Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Pineland Hibiscus - Hibiscus aculeatus   Walter
Members of Malvaceae:
Members of Hibiscus with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Malvales » Family Malvaceae
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DistributionWidely scattered in the southern Coastal Plain, known from just three counties -- Carteret, New Hanover, and Robeson. There are a handful of sites known in Carteret County, including the Roiosevelt Natural Area on Bogue Banks. Oddly lacking records from Onslow, Pender, and Brunswick counties.

This is a Southern species, found from southeastern NC south to northern FL and west to eastern TX. It is found in several counties in SC adjacent to Brunswick and Columbus counties.`
AbundanceVery rare to locally rare, in the southern Coastal Plain. This is a State Threatened species.
HabitatThis species has a few widely divergent habitats in NC. It can be found in damp but sandy margins of maritime forests and openings; but it can also be found in ditches and along the margins of damp forests. It may also occur in pine savannas, though mainly so from SC southward.
PhenologyBlooms from June to August, and fruits from July to September.
IdentificationThis is a rather robust herb, branched, with a leaning stem to somewhat erect, and reaching close to 3 feet tall. The stem and leaves have bristly hairs. The alternate leaves are moderately large and palmately lobed, typically with three long fingers and two "thumbs" along the lower sides; the leaves average about 3-4 inches across and long. The very large flowers are in few-flowered racemes from upper leaf axils. Each flower is cream to pale yellow, with five rounded petals, and with a deep purple center to the flower; the spread flower is roughly 4 inches across, one of the largest flowers of an herb in the state (though not as large as in H. moscheutos). This species should not be confused with any other, especially owing to the oddly-shaped leaves and large cream-colored flowers; it is the only member of the genus with the stem and leaves harshly scabrous (sandpaper-like), as opposed to glabrous or slightly pubescent. It is too bad that this species is rare in NC, as it is a "car-stopper" if and when seen from a moving vehicle!
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Pineland Rosemallow, Savanna Hibiscus, Comfort-root. Comfort-root seems to be more often used, but this is a very idiosyncratic, unorthodox name that has no link to the genus Hibiscus or other species in the mallow family. Such names are discouraged on this website.
State RankS1
Global RankG5
State StatusT
US Status
USACE-agcpFACW link
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J. MarlowPhoto taken in SC. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
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