Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Rose pavonia

with 27 comments

Pavonia Mallow Flower 8158

A couple of days ago Steve Gingold showed a picture of a rose pogonia. By coincidence, when I was in Great Hills Park yesterday I photographed a rose pavonia, so I thought I should present a photograph of it here as a follow-up to the flower with such a similar-sounding name. (This plant is also called pavonia mallow and rose mallow, and its scientific name is Pavonia lasiopetala.)

If you’re interested in photography as a craft, you’ll find that points 1, 2, 5 and 20 in About My Techniques are relevant to this photograph.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 24, 2015 at 5:20 AM

27 Responses

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  1. When I looked at the USDA distribution map, I was surprised to find that it’s shown both in Travis and Galveston counties, and only a few others. I see that one of its common names is swamp mallow. Perhaps that helps to explain what seems to me a slightly odd distribution. I certainly will take a second look now at anything I come across that seems to be a stray hibiscus.


    June 24, 2015 at 6:40 AM

    • Ah, you beat me to it. I’d thought up looking up the distribution and providing a link, but in the end I didn’t. If I’ve run across the name swamp mallow, I don’t remember it. Some people in Austin have planted this species, but I don’t come across it in the wild all that often. There are two sites I’m aware of in different parts of Great Hills Park. Both are within a hundred feet of the main creek, but on ground that’s high enough never to flood (as far as I know), so at least in my experience the name swamp mallow doesn’t fit. Maybe if I ever do find some of these plants in a swamp, they’ll be more prolific than I’m used to.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 24, 2015 at 7:02 AM

  2. Similar names but very different plants. Both beautiful, though. Is there such a thing as an ugly flower? Surely they are all beautiful.


    June 24, 2015 at 6:51 AM

    • My father used to like the phrase “a face that only a mother could love,” and now you’ve raised the question of whether there’s a flower that only Mother Nature could love. Based on my limited experience with the local native plants, some genera produce flowers that are small and inconspicuous. The genus Croton comes to mind:


      I still find things to like in flowers like those, but I have the impression that the average person wouldn’t, and wouldn’t be likely to plant such species in a garden.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 24, 2015 at 7:12 AM

      • The woolly croton has its own charm. The other small flowers linked in the croton post appear to be much more attractive, but I could love them all.


        June 25, 2015 at 12:16 AM

        • Welcome aboard the good ship Flowerlove. In the case of the snow-on-the-mountain and snow-on-the-prairie linked to in the croton post, and in a relative like poinsettia, what makes the plants so attractive to people is their bracts, which are much larger than the actual flowers.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 25, 2015 at 6:01 AM

  3. Rose by color. Is it true that neither rose by the two Steves is a Rosaceae?

    Jim in IA

    June 24, 2015 at 7:54 AM

    • On behalf of my namesake, I’ll say yes, we’re talking rose by color alone: the rose pogonia is an orchid and the rose pavonia is a mallow.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 24, 2015 at 8:14 AM

  4. Just beautiful! And…This last point is so interesting – glad it came up!

    Birder's Journey

    June 24, 2015 at 12:21 PM

  5. Also reminds me of our beautiful Swamp Hibiscus, which are blooming now in the wetlands.

    Birder's Journey

    June 24, 2015 at 12:29 PM

    • You’re in Florida, right? I found a Hibiscus coccineus in Florida that I’m assuming is the one you mean. From the pictures online, I can see why you’d be happy to have that wildflower around.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 24, 2015 at 1:51 PM

  6. Nice work

    Raewyn's Photos

    June 24, 2015 at 7:18 PM

  7. Ah, a rose by another name. And speaking of other names, here is a swamp rose (Rosa palustris) that is somewhat similar in appearance and color. Lovely image, Steve.

    Steve Gingold

    June 24, 2015 at 8:02 PM

    • So a couple of comments back we had a swamp hibiscus, and now a swamp rose.

      It’s good of you to invoke Romeo and Juliet: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / by any other name would smell as sweet.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 24, 2015 at 10:06 PM

  8. Who could not love a wild rose? I found one in the north woods last week that I’ll be presenting shortly, as well. Amazing flowers all.


    June 24, 2015 at 10:34 PM

    • Just be aware that in this case the word rose is an adjective that modifies the noun pavonia, which is a type of mallow. The genus was named for a botanist from Spain, José Antonio Pavón, whose family name happens to mean ‘peacock.’

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 25, 2015 at 5:56 AM

  9. […] to bring you this recent image that I made of a wild rose from northern Minnesota by a recent post (here) from Steve Schwartzman, one of the essential members of my blogging community, in which he featured […]

  10. The wildflower knows how to tame the wildest beast! ~Y. Alvarado


    June 25, 2015 at 10:35 AM

    • Then let’s hope I’m surrounded by wildflowers if a mountain lion comes bounding out of the woods toward me.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 25, 2015 at 12:49 PM

      • It is not about self here, it is about the life of the wild, how they respond to each other is a matter of survival not respect to others.


        June 26, 2015 at 11:28 AM

  11. Very pretty. We have mallows here that are pale pink. They just turned up in my garden this year…in fact, we’d been visiting Texas 🙂 and found them blooming away when we returned.


    July 11, 2015 at 9:39 AM

    • Too bad you didn’t make it all the way to Austin, or you could’ve had a guided tour of nature here. Some years ago my wife planted a rose pavonia by the side of our house, and ever since then it and its descendants have provided these flowers in varying amounts. A couple of years ago I think I counted two dozen flowers on a single bush, the most ever, but I just took a look through the window and saw only a single flower; there were more, maybe half a dozen, last week.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 11, 2015 at 12:57 PM

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