Species Profile

Swamp Rose-mallow

Scientific Name: Hibiscus moscheutos
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
Range: Ontario
Last COSEWIC Assessment: November 2004
Last COSEWIC Designation: Special Concern
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Special Concern

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Quick Links: | Photo | Description | Distribution and Population | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Swamp Rose-mallow

Swamp Rose-mallow Photo 1
Swamp Rose-mallow Photo 2



The Swamp Rose-mallow is a perennial which can grow to 2 m in height. The stems emerge from a shared root system. The leaves are egg-shaped or have three lobes; their edges are serrated; and they measure 8 to 22 cm in length and 8 to 15 cm in width. The petals of the flowers are usually pink, but occasionally white, and measure 6 to 10 cm in length. The capsule is 2 to 3.5 cm in length; the seeds are dark brown.


Distribution and Population

In Canada, the Swamp Rose-mallow is found only in southern Ontario.



The Swamp Rose-mallow usually grows in open, coastal marshes, but it is also sometimes found in open wet woods, thickets and drainage ditches.



Swamp Rose-mallows occur in clumps of up to 70 plants, with each clump sharing a common root system. Flowering occurs between the end of July and the middle of September. Bees are probably the main pollinators. It is believed that the seeds are dispersed after being eaten by ducks; the seeds float for long periods of time before becoming established. Vegetative reproduction, with the clumps producing new plants, seems to be important.



The main limiting factor for the Swamp Rose-mallow is the disappearance of habitat through the drainage and development of coastal wetlands.



Federal Protection

More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.



PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

10 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC assessment and update status report on the swamp rose-mallow Hibiscus moscheutos in Canada (2005)

    Hibiscus moscheutos is a robust perennial of the mallow family (Malvaceae) growing to two metres in height with up to eight showy blooms found in the axils of the upper leaves. The large hollyhock-like flowers are unmistakable, with the pink or white petals 6-10 cm long. The flowers are bisexual, and as is characteristic of all mallows, the stamens are united into a column arising from the centre of the flower. The style protrudes from the tip of the staminal column and is tipped with five round stigmas. When not in flower, the combination of tall stature, hairy, oblong or maple-like leaves, and nearly globular capsules is distinctive.

COSEWIC Assessments

  • COSEWIC Assessment - Swamp rose-mallow (2005)

    Designated Special Concern in April 1987. Status re-examined and confirmed in November 2004. Last assessment based on an update status report.

Response Statements

  • Response Statements - Swamp Rose-mallow (2005)

    A robust, perennial herb of shoreline marshes of the Great Lakes present in Ontario at many localities, in very small areas, and generally in low numbers. The total Canadian population is estimated to consist of fewer than 10,000 plants with some, including two of the largest populations, in protected sites. The species has been subjected historically to habitat loss and several populations have been lost recently. Populations are also at risk from habitat degradation and impact due especially to invasive exotic plants. Evidence of the spread of plants through rafting of floating clumps indicates that recolonization of extirpated sites may be possible.

Action Plans

  • Multi-species Action Plan for Point Pelee National Park of Canada and Niagara National Historic Sites of Canada (2016)

    The Multi-species Action Plan for Point Pelee National Park of Canada and the Niagara National Historic Sites of Canada applies to lands and waters occurring within the boundaries of the two sites: Point Pelee National Park of Canada (PPNP) and the Niagara National Historic Sites of Canada (NNHS). The NNHS is being used as a term to collectively refer to two locations in the Niagara region that consist of three National Historic Sites: Fort George National Historic Site, Battlefield of Fort George National Historic Site, and Butler’s Barracks National Historic Sites of Canada. The plan meets the requirements for action plans set out in the Species At Risk Act (SARA s.47) for species requiring an action plan and that regularly occur in these sites. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits for other species of conservation concern that regularly occur at PPNP and at NNHS.
  • Multi-species Action Plan for Thousand Islands National Park of Canada (2016)

    The Multi-species Action Plan for Thousand Islands National Park of Canada is a Species At Risk Act action plan (SARA s.47) for four species: American Water-willow (Justicia americana), Butternut (Juglans cinerea), Deerberry (Vaccinium stamineum), and Pugnose Shiner (Notropis anogenus). The plan also outlines measures to monitor and manage 30 other species of conservation concern that regularly occur in the park. This plan applies only to lands and waters occurring within the boundaries of Thousand Islands National Park of Canada.

Management Plans

  • Management Plan for the Swamp Rose-mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos) in Canada (2013)

    The Swamp Rose-mallow was listed as a species of Special Concern under SARA in August 2006. The Minister of the Environment and the Minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency is the competent minister for the management of the Swamp Rose-mallow and has prepared this plan, as per section 65 of SARA. It has been prepared in cooperation with the Province of Ontario.


COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2005 (2005)

    2005 Annual Report to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species Under the Species At Risk Act: November 2005 (2005)

    The Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003 as part of its strategy for the protection of wildlife species at risk. Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, hereinafter referred to as the 'SARA list'. Canadians are invited to comment on whether all or some of the species included in this document should be added to the SARA list.