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What is Growing?

By: Jillian DeBlanc

Common name: Malva rosa, Island Mallow

Scientific: Malva assurgentiflora (previously Lavatera Assurgentiflora)

When hiking around Buena Vista park at the beginning of fall time, these bright magenta beauties blooming so vibrantly caught my eye. The Malva assurgentiflora, commonly known as the Malva rosa or Island mallow belongs to the mallow family, which is the same family as the hibiscus flower.

These ornamental flowers are native to California. In fact, they are only native to the Channel Islands, but can also be found growing in coastal mainland California. Due to the climate of the Channel Islands, the malva rosa has evolved to grow in moist air, high humidity and frequent fog. These can be planted in hot and dry climates, as they are drought-tolerant, as long they are watered and in soil with good drainage. The malva rosa is also known for being used as a windbreaker plant, which is great for the strong San Francisco winds!

The malva rosa can grow up to 10 feet tall and blooms from March-November. It hosts 14 different types of butterflies and moths, including the Painted Lady butterfly, the Northern White Skipper and the West Coast Lady.

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