Many people are familiar with our native Hibiscus moscheutos. It is the source of many of the cultivars sold as Hardy Hibiscus, but there are many other species that grow here in the United States. Here is a look at the species that grow wild in the Continental United States.
Hibiscuses can be found in all of the 48 contiguous states, and they run the gamut of variety. They can be perennial or annual, evergreen or deciduous, native or exotic. They can be found in swamps, marshes in the eastern states, or dry rocky areas in the west.
The numbers by State
There are twenty-two species of Hibiscuses that grow wild in the Continental United States.
The only state with no wild hibiscuses: Alaska
The states with the most species: Florida and Texas with 13 each
The state with the most native species: Texas with 10
The state with the most endemic natives: Texas with 4
The state with the most exotic species: Florida with 6
The only state with no exotic species: Nevada
States with only one species: 9 - Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming
States with only exotic species: 8 - Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming
States with US native, but adventive to that state: 4 - North Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington
Number of species found in both the United States and Canada: 3
The numbers by Species
14 Native species: H. aculeatus, H. biseptus, H. coccineus, H. coulteri, H. dasycalyx, H. denudatus, H. furcellatus, H. grandiflorus, H. laevis, H. martianus, H. moscheutos, H. poeppigii, H. X sabei, H. striatus,
8 Exotic Species: H. acetosella, H. cannabinus, H. mutabilis, H. radiatus, H. rosa-sinensis, H. schizopetalus, H. syriacus, H. trionum.
10 species can only be found in one state: H. acetosella, H. cannabinus, H. furcellatus, H. poeppigii, H. radiatus, H. schizopetalus, found only in Florida.
H. dasycalyx, H. martianus, H. x sabei, H. striatus, found only in Texas.
Most widespread native species: Hibiscus moscheutos, found in 35 states.
Most widespread exotic species: Hibiscus trionum, found in 47 states.
Three species are found in both the United States and Canada: H. laevis, H. moscheutos, H. trionum.
Endangered and Rare Species:
Hibiscus poeppigii, found only in Miami-Dade County, Florida and Florida Keys.
Hibiscus dasycalyx, found only in about four counties in Texas, only a few hundred in the wild.
Hibiscus X sabei found only in Brewster County, Texas. Hibiscus X sabei is a naturally occurring hybrid of H. denudatus and H. coulteri
US native Hibiscus moscheutos and exotic species Hibiscus rosa-sinensis and Hibiscus syriacus are the most popular and widely recognized species due to the hundreds of cultivars that have been created.
Hibiscus moscheutos, H. coccineus, H. dasycalyx, H. grandiflorus, and H. laevis are part of Hibiscus Section Muenchhusia.
This is a closely related group of North American Hibiscuses found in marshes, swamps, and ditches. Some of the Hardy Hibiscus cultivars are a mixture of several of these species.
Here are a few more: