In addition to the incredible number of animals that make River Legacy their home, several equally incredible species of plants are also found in the park.
One of those plants is the Turkscap or wax mallow (Malvaviscus arboreus). This plant is a member of the Malvaceae family, a large family that includes okra, cotton, and hibiscus, among many others.
The Turkscap is native to the southeastern United States, including Texas, as well as Mexico, Central America, and South America. It is a shrub that grows to about 2-3 feet, though sometimes higher and has small red flowers that never fully open. Instead, the five petals overlap and form a small tubule, from which the stamen and pistils protrude. It flowers usually in the summer and the flowers resemble a Turkish turban, hence the name. Sometimes, hummingbirds, moths, caterpillars, spiders, butterflies, praying mantises, and other insects can be seen near or on the Turkscap!
Come check out the Turkscap shrubs growing just outside the western entrance in Mike’s Room of River Legacy Living Science Center!