By William T. Hathaway

Flower-of-an-Hour (Hibiscus trionum)

This species (Hibiscus trionum) is named “Flower-of-an-Hour” because its flowers remain open only for a few hours during daytime.

It is not a native plant. Spreading to tobacco fields and other crops, this species is somewhat of a mystery. Occasionally a single plant may be found surrounded by a field of unrelated species. Just how the Flower-of-an-Hour became established in a farmer's fields leads one to think of various causes: was it brought in by wind, birds, or imported hay from distant out-of-state fields? Perhaps it was a stray from a nearby flower garden.

Whatever, this species is a low spreading plant, having pale-yellow flowers with a dark center. Here is an enchanting member of the Hibiscus genus that may surprise our expectations. After all, unlike the Flower-of-an-Hour, the tall shrubby Rose-mallow, Rose of Sharon, and Hibiscus plants don't conceal their beauty as the result of a low profile.