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Anita’s Blog – Ode to Turk’s Cap

Updated: Nov 25, 2023


Turk's Cap, Malvaviscus drummondii. (Photo by Anita Westervelt)

O tantalizing electric crimson

Perfect plant in this dry rhythm

What can we learn from structured bloom

We grant you space and do presume


Fair game and drama entertain

Bugs and ‘pillars and cotton stain

Smoothly plucked by flight of bird

Sun or shade you’re undeterred


Tiger Moth caterpillar on Turk's Cap. (Photo by Anita Westervelt)

Cotton Stainer insects on Turk's Cap leaf. (Photo by Anita Westervelt)

Whose limbs aloft do weave and bob

Teeter-totter to weightless daub

A host to many unseen creatures

Loft holey banners of your features


Holey Turk's Cap leaves from mystery insect infestation. (Photo by Anita Westervelt)

Buds and leaves and flowers play host

Generous and free as the Holy Ghost

A continuous parade of blooms to devour

Rich nectar drawn as winged craft hover


Turk's Cap is host to the Art Deco-esque-looking Eusceptis flavifrimbriata Moth. (Photo by Anita Westervelt)

Silhouette of a Hummingbird. (Photo by Anita Westervelt)

Gleaned by bird and bug and mystery

Native to our ancient history

Sheltered passage of nocturnal ‘coons

Such a garden's charming boon


Raccoons flee into Turk's Cap shrub caught by a field camera.

Distant kin to mallows marsh

Stand against this land so harsh

What is the nature of your way

That we should treasure you the day


Kiskadee, ani, grosbeak tease

Pluck critters from leaves with so much ease

But none compare with a tiny jewel

That fights for rights with death by duel


A Blue Grosbeak swoops into Turk's Cap colony, exits with treat. (Photo by Anita Westervelt)

Ruby-throated Hummingbird nectars at a Turk's Cup flower. (Photo by Anita Westervelt)

Blooms and leaves so much at hand

Serve bird and bug to beat the band

Survive the heat and sun and drought

Rule the shade with so much clout


Gray Bird Grasshopper on Turk's Cap leaf. (Photo by Anita Westervelt)

Roly-Poly bug on Turk's Cap leaf. (Photo by Anita Westervelt)

Neither shade, nor heat, nor drought can keep a Turk's Cap from blooming. (Photo by Anita Westervelt)

You chortle at coming winter fear

Withdraw your bounty end of year

To bob alizarins crimson fruit

And burst with January’s new salute


How sturdy your lanky limbs aslant

Stand strong ‘gainst winter's wary grant

To once again enchant

O Turk’s Cap, you perfect plant

A female Hooded Oriole dives straight to the nectar pot of a Turk's Cap flower. (Photo by Anita Westervelt)

A Gulf Fritillary draws nectar from the Turk's Cap flower. (Photo by Anita Westervelt)

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