Thomas Jefferson sowed seed of this tender annual along his flower border in 1811, calling it "Scarlet Mallow." He likely received seed from Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon, who noted the flower in his 1806 book, The American Gardener's Calendar. 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.
- Griffith, Lawrence D. Flowers and Herbs of Early America. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008.
- Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants.
Visit Monticello’s Online Shop to check for seeds or plants of Scarlet Pentapetes.
Typical Blooming Dates: August - October
Growth Type: Annual
Location at Monticello: West Lawn
Planting Conditions: Full Sun