Let’s play “guess the family:”
I know… too easy. This thing is obviously a hibiscus of some sort. If you’ve ever grown a tropical hibiscus or owned a Hawaiian shirt, this flower is familiar to you. Its Latin name is Hibiscus coccineus.
Unlike the standard hibiscus, though, the scarlet rose mallow (also known as swamp hibiscus) has palmate leaves and like swampy locations. Roadside ditches are perfect for this plant, as are pond margins.
Native plant nurseries like Taylor Gardens Nursery and The Potter’s Bench (Look for Connie at the 326 Community Market) are good places to find this plant. I should have a few in my nursery before too long. I concentrate on edibles but really like this plant.
I know, liking ornamentals is a sign of weakness.
The blooms are large and ephemeral, only sticking around for one glorious day.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find out if this particular mallow is edible. Whatever it is, the butterflies sure like it: