The Rose Mallows (Hibiscus sect. Muenchhusia, Malvaceae) as currently circumscribed include five species: Hibiscus coccineus, H. dasycalyx, H. grandiflorus, H. laevis, and H. moscheutos. Further, H. moscheutos includes up to four subspecies, although the most recent taxonomic treatment recognizes only two (H. moscheutos subsp. moscheutos and H. moscheutos subsp. lasiocarpos). Previously published experimental hybridization studies as well as morphological data suggest that these species are divided into two natural groups: (1) H. grandiflorus and H. moscheutos; and (2) H. coccineus, H. dasycalyx, and H. laevis. Beyond these inferences, however, phylogenetic relationships among these species and their relationship to other Hibiscus species are unknown. Further, the number of subspecies of H. moscheutos that are recognized varies in different treatments and the suite of morphological characters that distinguish them is highly variable. Phylogenetic analyses of molecular data (both chloroplast and nuclear DNA sequences) are being conducted to elucidate relationships among the species of Hibiscus sect. Muenchhusia, and to discover their relationship to other Hibiscus species. Additionally, analyses of morphological and genetic variation within and among populations of those taxa referred to H. moscheutos are being conducted to determine how many unique biological entities exist within this taxon.

Key words: Hibiscus, Malvaceae, systematics