The Neches River Rose Mallow (Hibiscus dasycalyx) is a rare wildflower endemic to Texas that is federally protected in the U.S.A. While previous work suggests that H. dasycalyx may be hybridizing with its widespread congeners, the Halberd-leaved Rose Mallow (H. laevis) and the Woolly Rose Mallow (H. moscheutos), this has not been studied in detail. We evaluated the relative threats to H. dasycalyx posed by hybridization with H. laevis and H. moscheutos by 1) examining their relatedness to one another via modern phylogenomic methods, 2) examining their ecological (dis)similarities to one another using ecological niche modeling, and 3) looking for genomic evidence of hybrid-ization among them. Our results suggest that H. dasycalyx is very closely related and ecologically similar to H. laevis, and that H. laevis is interbreeding with H. dasycalyx in the wild. Conversely, H. moscheutos appears to be more distantly related to H. dasycalyx and more ecologi-cally dissimilar, and the two are most likely not hybridizing. For these reasons, we believe that H. laevis poses a greater threat to H. dasycalyxthan H. moscheutos. We offer some hypotheses as to why H. dasycalyx and H. laevis are coming into secondary contact where hybridization can occur.


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Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas

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