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Products > Pavonia candida
Pavonia candida - Acahuita

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Malvaceae (w/Bombacaceae & Sterculeacea)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Synonyms: [Malvaviscus candidus, Hibiscus pedunculatus,Hort]
Height: 10-16 feet
Width: 8-12 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30° F
Pavonia candida (Acahuita) - A large attractive shrub that can grow to 15 feet tall with 8 inch long and wide deeply 3 to 5 lobed slightly hairy eaves that look a lot like a large maple leaf. In late spring through summer appear the lightly fragrant very showy large white flowers with 3 inch long petals and yellow stamen tubes that extend another 3 inches beyond. Plant in full sun and irrigate occasionally. We don't yet know the ultimate cold tolerance of this plant as it has not been widely cultivated and since starting to grow this plant in 2008 ,we have not had any hard frosts; the coldest temperature it has sustained has been 30° F, but it did this without any damage. This is a beautiful and unusaul plant for a large garden and its flowers and its flowers are quite attractive to honey bees. This plant comes from a wide area of central Mexico and can be found in the states of Coahuila, Queretaro, Jalisco and Michoacán but nowhere is it abundant. It was first described as Malvaviscus candidus by the Swiss botanist Augustin Pyramus de Candolle in 1824 from a specimen originally collected in Zacatecas during the Royal Botanical Expedition to New Spain (1787-1803) that was sponsored by King Charles III of Spain and headed by physician Martín Sessé y Lacasta (M. Sessé, V. Cervantes & M. Mociño). The type specimen (Isotype) was later collected in the hills bordering Lake Cuitzeo, in Michoacán, Mexico by American botanist Cyrus Guernsey Pringle in 1892. It was reclassified as a Pavonia by the American botanist Paul A. Fryxell in 1980. The border-line between Pavonia and Malvaviscus is noted as vague but Pavonia are noted as having fruit with five woody mericarps and Pavonia candida (Mocino & Sesse ex DC.) P.A. Fryxell, is how it is currently listed in The Plant List, the collaborative database reference managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and Missouri Botanic Garden (MOBOT). The name of the genus honors the Spanish botanist José Antonio Pavón Jiménez (1754-1844). The specific epithet is from the Latin word 'candidus' meaning "white" or "bright" in reference to this plant's pure white flowers. It has also been previously known as Malvaciscus acerifolius, M. pleurogonus and M. pringlei. Besides the common name Acahuita (which we can find no meaning for) this plant is also called "Lirio" in Sinaloa, which translates from Spanish as "Lily", in reference to the pure white blooms resemblance to a lily. There has been name confusion between this plant and the very different pink flowering South African mallow, Hibiscus pedunculatus, which we also grow. We also grow several other species of Pavonia, including the South African Pavonia praemorsa and the South American Pavonia missionum. We thank Huntington Botanic Garden conservatory curator Dylan Hannon for introducing us to this plant in 2008 and for providing our initial cutting stock.  The information on this page is based on our research that has been conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in the nursery, in the nursery's garden, and in other gardens where it has been observed. We also incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that might aid others in growing  Pavonia candida.