For the first time since we bought our Columbia, Missouri home, 24 years ago, clumps of greenery with showy, up-facing flower cups have appeared in the herb garden. After a bit of research, we have determined that they are prairie poppy mallow, a member of the hibiscus family native to the Midwest and South-Central States.
Most often found in dry, well-drained soil typical of glades, roadsides and disturbed areas, these flowers are often planted in rock gardens; a deep tab root explains their drought tolerance. Since. poppy mallows spread by seed, they must have reached our garden with the assistance of birds.
Once again, nature has surprised us with her diversity and adaptability. Try as we might to pave over, till up or pollute her landscapes, she manages to thrive.