Scarlet Pentapetes

From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

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[[Image:pentapetes3.jpg|thumb|right|Scarlet Pentapetes]] [[Image:pentapetes3.jpg|thumb|right|Scarlet Pentapetes]]
-'''Common Name:''' Scarlet Pentapetes+'''Common Name:''' Scarlet Pentapetes<ref>This article is based on Peggy Cornett, CHP Information Sheet.</ref>
'''Scientific Name:''' ''Pentapetes phoenicea'' '''Scientific Name:''' ''Pentapetes phoenicea''

Revision as of 10:05, 29 October 2008

Scarlet Pentapetes
Scarlet Pentapetes

Common Name: Scarlet Pentapetes[1]

Scientific Name: Pentapetes phoenicea

Description: Tender, ornamental, annual flower; Scarlet, mallow-like blossoms open at noon and close at dawn. Distinctive, olive green foliage with serrated edges

Size: Grows 3 to 5 feet; upright habit

Cultural Information: Prefers full sun to light shade and well-drained garden loam

Historical Notes: Jefferson sowed seed of this tender annual along his flower border in 1811, calling it "Scarlet Mallow."[2] He likely received seed from Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon, who noted the flower in his book, The American Gardener’s Calendar, 1806. This unusual plant of the Old World Tropics, rarely cultivated in America, is a member of the chocolate family with brownish-green stems and mallow-like blossoms. It makes a handsome accent plant in the garden.


  1. This article is based on Peggy Cornett, CHP Information Sheet.
  2. Betts, Garden Book, 445. Manuscript and transcription at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Further Sources