Monday, September 9, 2013

Turk's Cap: for the birds?


I love Turk's Cap, malvaviscus drummondii.  A member of the mallow family, its range stretches from Mexico through Texas, to Florida, Cuba, and beyond.  I am glad that it's conveniently native to Texas, a tough, drought-tolerant plant that was named a Texas Superstar back in 2011.  The flowers are beloved by both  hummingbirds and butterflies, and it also proffers small, red fruits that birds enjoy.

Turk's Cap can take most any soil, is heat resistant, and while it prefers some shade, can also thrive in the Texas sun.  Nevertheless, I've had a hard time growing it.  Only recently, in the last year or so, a plant actually thrived, then another, and now the birds have planted a few for me.  Their attempts have been more successful than mine; these photos are of a bird-sown specimen. 


In our area, it dies back in winter, to return usually stronger each spring.  I've read that the flowers and fruits and even the leaves are edible, but I've never personally tried them.  It took me so long to get the plants going; I'm not about to eat them!  But evidently, the fruits have a faint, apple-like flavor.  Perhaps one day, when I'm more confident, I will try a few.  I don't think the birds should mind; they have plenty.  Share and share alike!


  1. What a showy plant, and great information. I've been looking for more plants for the hummingbirds, and I just may have to give this one a try!

    1. Holley, Kate, I think you would enjoy it in your beautiful gardens. Thank you for stopping by!