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Madison Square Park Conservancy is responsible for the maintenance of the park’s lawns. Lawns are open daily for public use starting at 10 AM through 5 PM, weather permitting. Lawns are closed on Parade Days.  Learn more about park hours and rules by visiting our FAQ page.

Horticulture Spotlight – Hibiscus

Horticulture Spotlight – Hibiscus

IMG 2016
IMG 2015
IMG 1956

A plant by the reflecting pool has captured the interest of many who have passed through the park this summer. The bright red saucers of Cranberry Crush eastern rosemallow (Hibiscus moscheutos ‘Cranberry Crush’) have been absolutely stunning. This hardy hibiscus has taken many people by surprise when they hear it is a perennial in our area. Many expect to see this tropical-looking plant further south but are delighted to learn they can add it to their local garden space. The Horticulture of My Neighbor’s Garden is comprised of a variety of plants that you may find in gardens across New York City. The hardy hibiscus, also called swamp mallow, was included not only for its beauty but also for its importance to people and pollinators. 

This hibiscus not only looks great, but has other uses for those that grow it. The Shinnecock tribe on Long Island used this plant to cure bladder infections and inflammation in the urinary tract. Many other species of hibiscus are used to make teas, traditional beverages like agua fresca & Jamaican sorrel, and natural dye. 

People aren’t the only ones loving this bloom all summer long. Many native bees also stop by to utilize nectar and pollen. The rose mallow bee (Ptilothrix bombiformis) is a specialist, long-tongued bee that requires this plant to complete its life cycle. Many caterpillars are also supported by this species. Gray hairstreak (Strymon melinus), painted lady (Vanessa cardui), and skipper (Hesperiidae family) butterflies, as well as some moth species, all utilize the foliage of the plants.

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