Venice mallow

Encyclopedia Article

Venice mallow             Hibiscus trionum L.

Family:   Malvaceae (mallow family)
Life cycle:  Annual
Native status:  Introduced as an ornamental
Habitat:  Crop fields

General description:  Spreading to erect plant reaching heights of 1.5 ft.  First two leaves are round with toothed margin; later leaves are deeply three-lobed with each lobe having rounded teeth.  Flower petals are up to 1.5 in long; white to pale yellow with purple base.  Seed capsule surrounded by a membranous bladder.

Key ID traits:  Deeply lobed leaves; pale yellow to off-white flower petals with purple center.

Similar species:   Seedlings of velvetleaf and Venice mallow are similar, but cotyledons of Venice mallow are glossier and more round than the heart-shaped cotyledons of velvetleaf.

Miscellaneous:  Often referred to as Venus mallow.  Introduced from Europe for use in flower gardens.  Flower petals are short-lived, giving the plant an alternate name of ‘flower of an hour’.

Venice mallow leaves have 3 to 5 deep lobes that have smaller lobes.  First pair of leaves usually are circular in shape.

Flowers have five cream colored petals with dark purple base.  Petals are short-lived; another name for the plant is flower of an hour.


Translucent sepals with green veins form a bladder-like structure around the seed capsule.