On my way to town I drive by several pastures. Not all expanses that look like pastures are pastures. The rose mallows betray one such pasture.
In semi tropical areas hibiscus bushes are popular with their large blossoms reaching six or more inches across in colors ranging from white to deep red. The Ozark rose mallow looks much like these hibiscus bushes.
When I first saw these beauties, I stopped on my way home to get a closer look. No one lives by these pastures. No cows are in them much of the time. I slipped through the barbed wire.
And landed ankle deep in water.
Rose mallow is a wetland flower. It likes its feet wet or close to wet. This so called pasture was a maze of six inch deep waterways.
Now I go prepared. Rubber boots are a great invention.
The rose mallow flowers are the big draw. They aren’t the only thing to see.
Purple loosestrife, seedbox, sweet Susan, swamp milkweed and monkey flower are blooming madly. A little vine binds the plants together and sports conical hats of purplish brown flowers.
Insects busily zip by. A lonely Monarch butterfly [the first and only one I’ve seen this year] flutters between the milkweed flower umbels. A two inch black hornet with fluorescent orange antennae is climbing over other milkweed umbels.
Bumblebees, skippers, beetles and more rummage through various flowers. They ignore me even when I shove my way through the bushes investigating yet another interesting flower.
All too soon I must leave. The sun is sinking. The goats will be waiting at the gate.
The path out seems to wind past several more rose mallow plants. These are such spectacular flowers it is hard to leave.
Sweet Susan and curly top ironweed wave good-bye as I slip back through the barbed wire.