Urena lobata / Hibiscus Burr
Urena lobata, Hibiscus Burr - IMG 9733
This low growing perennial plant, which is known as Hibiscus Burr, Caesarweed, Congo Jute and Burr Mallow, is a member of the Malvaceae family of plants, as is the more familiar garden shrub hibiscus to which it is related.
The plant's origin is uncertain, but it's found in most tropical regions of the world and it's believed that it was brought to Australia in the distant past by the indigenous peoples of nearby islands who valued the plant for the fibre that could be produced from its woody stems. And with its leaves and bark used in traditional medicines in Malaysia, Urena lobata produces more than simply attractive pink flowers.
It thrives in northern and eastern regions of Australia, primarily in the vicinity of waterways and woodlands, and although it's classified as a native species it's regarded as an environmental weed in Queensland, and has become an invasive species in the state of Florida in the USA.
The hooked spines on its seed capsules allow it to be readily spread by wildlife, so with the warming climate this little plant could eventually conquer new territory.
This species was photographed in the Tuan State Forest near Maryborough in Queensland, Australia.