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Having such a strange summer with my hibiscus - I posted earlier about chipmunks eating the seeds and I think birds might be too. When I started looking around to take pics of seed pods - there don't seem to be as many as usual. In Ohio, we had a very early spring followed by an intensely hot and dry summer. So that may be a factor along with the fact that I have no sunflowers this year for the critters to be munching. I've had sunflowers for many years that have self-sowed but I think the chipmunk herd may have devoured the seeds. I know we usually ooh and aah over the flowers, but I think that one of the cool things about hibiscus is that they are interesting in their different phases. My family and friend are getting weary of me rambling on about hibiscus - so I thought if anyone was interested, it would be this forum.
You appear to have an unusual problem. I ran a Google search on Hibiscus, seeds & chipmunks and you posts are now at top of the Google hit list. I did notice that one post suggested that if chipmunks find their usual food in short supply they will turn to foods which they would not normally eat. Try this Google search:
With the return of normal weather patterns, your chipmunks will hopefully return to their usual foods. There may be a silver lining in all of this; if the chipmunks collected mature seeds and stashed them, some of the seeds will be forgotten and may germinate. Next year, you or your neighbors may find Hibiscus seedlings in strange places. I am sure that only yesterday you were whishing for more Hibiscus but as the old saying goes be carful what you wish for.
You know, I hadn't thought about the fact that the chipmunks might be doing some planting for me! I don't think I could ever have too many hibiscus! I just hope it is a long time before we have a hot dry summer like this again.
I have to be more carful about the things I say half in jest. Your garden has produced an incredible number of spontaneous Hibiscus hybrids over the years. If you didnít plant the Hibiscus seedlings, then some other agent arenít has to be at work. The question is can it be your chipmunks? I looked at the Wikipedia entry for Chipmunks and found the following.
"Chipmunks have an omnivorous diet. They prefer vegetables; but will eat grain, nuts, fruit, berries, bird eggs, small frogs, fungi, worms, and insects. At the beginning of autumn, many species of chipmunk begin to stockpile these goods in their burrows, for winter. Other species make multiple small caches of food. These two kinds of behavior are called larder hoarding and scatter hoarding. Larder hoarders usually live in their nests until spring. Cheek pouches allow chipmunks to carry multiple food items to their burrows for either storage or consumption. Ö
These small mammals fulfill several important functions in forest ecosystems. Their activities harvesting and hoarding tree seeds play a crucial role in seedling establishment."
Chipmunks are a social animal and will learn behaviors from adults so it is quite possible that your resident population has developed a taste for Hibiscus seeds. The USDA has conducted research into the nutritional value of Hibiscus seeds and has even done work with some of the oddball species I play with, as reported in this 2004 paper.