Jefferson sowed seed of this tender annual along the Roundabout flower border in 1811, referring to it as "Scarlet Mallow." Jefferson probably obtained the seed of this uncommon native of the Old World tropics from Philadelphia nurseryman, Bernard McMahonwho noted "Scarlet Pentapetes" in his American Gardener's Calendar of 1806. Pentapetes ("five petals") phoenicia ("scarlet") forms a handsome four-foot-high plant with deep green, heavily lobed leaves, and attractive, orangish-red, mallow-like flowers. The blossoms open around noon and close the following down.
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