Malvaviscus arboreus var. mexicanus

Malvaviscus arboreus var. mexicanus

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Malvaviscus arboreus var. mexicanus | Cardinals Hat, Mazapan, Nodding Hibiscus, Sleeping Hibiscus, Turk’s Cap, Giant Mexican Turk’s-Cap

Malvaviscus arboreus is native from Mexico to Columbia, but it has naturalized in areas of the southern US, and other parts of the world. It’s commonly called the sleeping or nodding hibiscus because the flowers do not open fully —they resemble wilted, downward hanging hibiscus flowers. Open or not, its still a worthy subject for the garden.

Malvaviscus arboreus has previously been known as: M. penduliflorus, M. conzatti, M. mexicanus, M. grandiflorus and M. mollis. This is a variable species that includes a few subspecies and varieties. It grows to 3m tall and almost as wide, bearing red, fleshy fruits along with the pendulous flowers. Varieties are available with red, pink, white or light pink flowers. Malvaviscus arboreus comes from warm, humid climates but also thrives in subtropical frost-free areas. They need well-drained soil and supplemental summer watering in dry climates.

Hibiscus striatus ssp. lambertianus

Hibiscus striatus ssp. lambertianus
Hibiscus striatus ssp. lamHibiscus striatus ssp. lambertianusbertianus | Striped Rosemallow

Hibiscus striatus ssp. Lambertianus is a North American perennial that is found growing naturally in marshes and ditches throughout various locations in south-eastern Texas. It was formerly known as Hibiscus cubensis. The grayish-green leaves have velvety hairs, the long stems have small spines. This deciduous species dies back in winter, then re-sprouts to produce attractive pinkish-lavender flowers throughout sping and summer. Hibiscus striatus ssp. striatus is native to Cuba and parts of Central America. Hibiscus striatus is closely related to the South American Hibiscus cisplatinus.

Reference: Taxonomic Relationship of Hibiscus cubensis, H. cisplatinus and H. lambertianus: Hibiscus cubensis Rich., H. cisplatinus St.-Hil and H. lambertianus H.B.K. have been placed by Hochreutiner (1900) in section Trionum of the genus. The three are extremely similar morphologically and all have a chromosome number of n = 26 (MenzeI, unpublished; Wise, unpublished). Vouchers numbers 459, 441, 442, and 448 are filed (FSU).

H. cisplatinus and H. lambertianus from Argentina, and H. cubensis from Calhoun Co., Texas, were hybridized by the authors. The Texas population is probably an introduction, since it is the only known location of H. cubensis in North America. It normally occurs in Cuba. A total of 7 out of 42 cross-pollinations between H. cubensis and H. cisplatinus set seed. 26 crosses between H. lambertianus and H. cisplatinus gave 3 hybrid capsules and 7 cross-pollinations out of a total 29 between H. lambertianus and H. cubensis were successful.

Hybrids among these three strains were fertile and produced fertile F2 progeny when selfed. 26 pairs of chromosomes were seen in each of the three possible F1 combinations. The F2 progenies were morphologically very homogeneous. No hybrids out of a total of 355 cross-pollinations were obtained between these three plants and 9 other members of sect. Trionum.

Because of the small amount of genetic differentiation among these three plants, it is suggested that they should be regarded as subspecies. In this event, the name Hibiscus lambertianus would have priority.

WISE, D. A. 1970 – Unpublished Thesis, Florida State University, Tallahassee. Florida.
D. A. WISE and M. Y. MENZEL Florida State Universit

Hibiscus storckii

Hibiscus storckii
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Hibiscus storckii | Storck’s Hibiscus storckiiHibiscus, Sequelu, Aute Tonga

This mysterious species was discovered in 1860 by botanists Dr. Berthold Seemann and Jacob Storck on the Fijian island of Taveuni. In Seeman’s “Flora Vitiensis”, published in 1865, it was described as a low-growing shrub with pink flowers. Jacob Storck, a German, settled in Fiji and kept a collection of plants from this archipelago. In 1963, an American botanist, Ross Gast, traveled to Fiji but found no trace of Hibiscus storkii, which has since been declared extinct in the wild. Fortunately, Jacob Storck distributed some of his specimens, and it is believed (by some) that this gorgeous hibiscus survived in several collections of various botanical gardens in Europe as well as Australia. There are still doubts however concerning this species authenticity —some botanists maintaining that it is simply a form of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. In 1941, Skovsted theorized that Hibiscus storckii, is actually a primitive form of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (A. Skovsted, a Danish cytologist, made a chromosome count of the species which is reported in “Chromosome Atlas of Flowering Plants” by Darlington and Wiley). To further muddy the waters, some claim that another elusive species, Hibiscus denisonii is actually the same as Hibiscus storckii. Whatever the case, the plant we label today as Hibiscus storckii has definite ornamental value.

Historical Reference: H. (Ketmia) Storckii. Nomen vernac -Sequelu. Somosomo, Island of Taviuni, growing as underwood like the allied Hibiscus Genevii, Bojer; rare. This is closely allied to Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, but I think sufficiently distinct to entitle it to the rank of species. Unfortunately my specimens are not so complete as could be wished, and so prevent a thorough comparison with its nearest ally. I have never seen it cultivated; it is a more straggling shrub than H. rosa-sinensis. The leaves are always more elliptical and less deeply cut on the margin, the segments of the calyx are also somewhat differently shaped, and I have never observed a variety of H. rosa-sinensis with such fine pink-coloured petals. I have named it in honour of my able assistant, Mr. J. Storck, who was with me when we first found it.

Flora Vitiensis: A Description of The Plants Viti or Fiji Islands
By Berthold Seemann, PH.D., Published 1865

Hibiscus splendens

Hibiscus splendens


The Splendid HibiscuHibiscus splendenss (Hibiscus splendens) is a species of flowering shrub or tree in the mallow family, Malvaceae. Other common names include Hollyhock Tree and Pink Cottonwood. H. splendens is a fairly common plant native to eastern Australia. The range of natural distribution is from Wollongong (35° S) in the state of New South Wales to Blackdown Tableland National Park (23° S) in central east Queensland. The habitat is on clearings or disturbances around the margins of the drier rainforests.
[edit] Description

A bush or small tree up to 6 metres tall and 7 cm in trunk diameter. The cylindrical trunk is covered in sharp prickles, as is most of the plant. Leaves are 7 to 20 cm long. Being toothed, heart shaped with a fine point at the tip. Leaves are simple or with three to five lobes, arranged alternatively on the stem. The mid rib and lateral veins visible on both sides of the leaf.

The spectacular pink coloured flowers are around 7 cm long, appearing in the months of October to December. The species name “splendens” refers to the beauty of the flower.

The fruit is an egg shaped capsule, covered in hairs. Five cells within the capsule contain pyramid shaped dark seeds, 3 to 4 mm long. Care is required in handling the capsule because of the irritating hairs. Fruit matures from December to February. Being a rainforest regeneration plant, germination from seed is easily achieved, and cuttings strike well.
An attractive garden plant.

Hibiscus scottii

Hibiscus scottii


Hibiscus scottiHibiscus scottiii is a species of flowering plant in the Malvaceae family. It is found only in Yemen. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical dry forests.

Hibiscus schizopetalus

Hibiscus schizopetalus


Hibiscus schizopetalus is a species of Hibiscus native to tropical eastern Africa in Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique.

It is a shrub growing to 3 m tall. The red or pink flowers are very distinctive in their frilly, finely divided petals.[1][2] Its common names include Japanese Lantern, Coral Hibiscus and Fringed Rosemallow. Flowers with finely dissected petal have a range of colours, the most common being the red form (Keena et al., 2002; Ng, 2006). Leaves resemble those of H. rosa-sinensis.


The major anthocyanin found in flowers of H. schizopetalus is cyanidin-3-sambusophoroside (Lowry, 1976). From leaves, two new triterpene esters have been isolated (Jose & Vijayan, 2006).

Hibiscus sabdariffa, Roselle

Hibiscus sabdariffa, Roselle

The roselle (Hibiscus Hibiscus sabdariffasabdariffa) is a species of Hibiscus native to the Old World tropics, used for the production of bast fibre and as an infusion. It is an annual or perennial herb or woody-based subshrub, growing to 2–2.5 m (7–8 ft) tall. The leaves are deeply three- to five-lobed, 8–15 cm (3–6 in) long, arranged alternately on the stems.

The flowers are 8–10 cm (3–4 in) in diameter, white to pale yellow with a dark red spot at the base of each petal, and have a stout fleshy calyx at the base, 1–2 cm (0.39–0.79 in) wide, enlarging to 3–3.5 cm (1.2–1.4 in), fleshy and bright red as the fruit matures. It takes about six months to mature.

The roselle is known as the rosella or rosella fruit in Australia. Its close relative, Hibiscus cannabinus is also known as meśta/meshta on the Indian subcontinent, Tengamora among assamese and “mwitha”  tribals in Assam, Gongura in Telugu, Pundi in Kannada, LalChatni or Kutrum in Mithila] Mathipuli in Kerala, chin baung in Burma, กระเจี๊ยบแดง KraJiabDaeng in Thailand,  som phor dee in Lao PDR, bissap in Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Benin and Niger, the Congo and France, dah or dah bleni in other parts of Mali, wonjo in the Gambia, zobo in western Nigeria (the Yorubas in Nigeria call the white variety Isapa (pronounced Ishapa)), Zoborodo in Northern Nigeria, Chaye-Torosh in Iran, karkade (كركديه; Arabic pronunciation: [ˈkarkade])[dubious – discuss] in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan, omutete in Namibia, sorrel in the Caribbean and in Latin America, Flor de Jamaica in Mexico, Saril in Panama, rosela in Indonesia, asam paya or asam susur in Malaysia. In Chinese it is 洛神花 (Luo Shen Hua) . In Zambia the plant is called lumanda in ciBemba, katolo in kiKaonde, or wusi in chiLunda. In certain West Indian islands, Grenada, for example, it is called Sorrel.

The plant is considered to have antihypertensive properties. Primarily, the plant is cultivated for the production for bast fibre from the stem of the plant. The fibre may be used as a substitute for jute in making burlap. Hibiscus, specifically Roselle, has been used in folk medicine as a diuretic, mild laxative, and treatment for cardiac and nerve diseases and cancer.

The red calyces of the plant are increasingly exported to America and Europe, where they are used as food colourings. Germany is the main importer. It can also be found in markets (as flowers or syrup) in some places such as France, where there are Senegalese immigrant communities. The green leaves are used like a spicy version of spinach. They give flavour to the Senegalese fish and rice dish thiéboudieune. Proper records are not kept, but the Senegalese government estimates national production and consumption at 700 t (770 short tons) per year. Also in Myanmar their green leaves are the main ingredient in making chin baung kyaw curry.

In East Africa, the calyx infusion, called “Sudan tea”, is taken to relieve coughs. Roselle juice, with salt, pepper, asafetida and molasses, is taken as a remedy for biliousness.

The heated leaves are applied to cracks in the feet and on boils and ulcers to speed maturation. A lotion made from leaves is used on sores and wounds. The seeds are said to be diuretic and tonic in action and the brownish-yellow seed oil is claimed to heal sores on camels. In India, a decoction of the seeds is given to relieve dysuria, strangury and mild cases of dyspepsia. Brazilians attribute stomachic, emollient and resolutive properties to the bitter roots.
Leafy vegetable/Greens

In Andhra cuisine, Hibiscus cannabinus, called Gongura, is extensively used. The leaves are steamed along with lentils and consumed as Dal. They are also mixed with spices and made into a Pacchadi (pesto).

In Africa, especially the Sahel, roselle is commonly used to make a sugary herbal tea that is commonly sold on the street. The dried flowers can be found in every market. Roselle tea is also quite common in Italy where it spread during the first decades of the 20th century as a typical product of the Italian colonies. The Carib Brewery Trinidad Limited, a Trinidad and Tobago brewery, produces a Shandy Sorrel in which the tea is combined with beer.

In Thailand, Roselle is drunk as a tea, believed to also reduce cholesterol. It can also be made into a wine – Hibiscus flowers are commonly found in commercial herbal teas, especially teas advertised as berry-flavoured, as they give a bright red colouring to the drink.

Cuisine: Among the Bodo tribals of Bodoland, Assam (India) the leaves of both hibiscus sabdariffa and hibiscus cannabinus are cooked along with chicken, fish or pork, one of their traditional cuisines

In the Caribbean sorrel drink is made from sepals of the roselle. In Malaysia, roselle calyces are harvested fresh to produce pro-health drink due to high contents of vitamin C and anthocyanins. In Mexico, ‘agua de Flor de Jamaica’ (water flavored with roselle) frequently called “agua de Jamaica” is most often homemade. Also, since many untrained consumers mistake the calyces of the plant to be dried flowers, it is widely, but erroneously, believed that the drink is made from the flowers of the non-existent “Jamaica plant”. It is prepared by boiling dried sepals and calyces of the Sorrel/Flower of Jamaica plant in water for 8 to 10 minutes (or until the water turns red), then adding sugar. It is often served chilled. This is also done in Guyana, Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago where it is called ‘sorrel’. The drink is one of several inexpensive beverages (aguas frescas) commonly consumed in Mexico and Central America, and they are typically made from fresh fruits, juices or extracts. A similar thing is done in Jamaica but additional flavor is added by brewing the tea with ginger and adding rum. It is a popular drink of the country at Christmas time. It is also very popular in Trinidad & Tobago but cinnamon and cloves are preferred to ginger. In Mali, Senegal, The Gambia, Burkina Faso and Benin calyces are used to prepare cold, sweet drinks popular in social events, often mixed with mint leaves, dissolved menthol candy, and/or various fruit flavors. The Middle Eastern and Sudanese drink “Karkade”(كركديه) is a cold drink made by soaking the dried Karkade flowers in cold water over night in a refrigerator with sugar and some lemon or lime juice added.It is then consumed with or without ice cubes after the flowers have been strained.In Lebanon, sometimes toasted pine nuts are tossed into the drink.

With the advent in the U.S. of interest in south-of-the-border cuisine, the calyces are sold in bags usually labeled “Flor de Jamaica” and have long been available in health food stores in the U.S. for making a tea that is high in vitamin C. This drink is particularly good for people who have a tendency, temporary or otherwise, toward water retention: it is a mild diuretic.

In addition to being a popular homemade drink, Jarritos, a popular brand of Mexican soft drinks, makes a Flor de Jamaica flavored carbonated beverage. Imported Jarritos can be readily found in the U.S.

In the UK the dried calyces and ready-made sorrel syrup are widely and cheaply available in Caribbean and Asian grocers. The fresh calyces are imported mainly during December and January in order to make Christmas and New Year infusions, which are often made into cocktails with additional rum. They are very perishable, rapidly developing fungal rot, and need to be used soon after purchase – unlike the dried product, which has a long shelf-life.
Jam and preserves

In Australia, rosella jam has been made since Colonial times and is still sold regularly at community fetes and charity stalls. It is similar in flavour to plum jam, although more acidic. It differs from other jams in that the pectin is obtained from boiling the interior buds of the rosella flowers. It is thus possible to make rosella jam with nothing but rosella buds and sugar.
Medicinal uses

Many parts of the plant are also claimed to have various medicinal values. They have been used for such purposes ranging from Mexico through Africa and India to Thailand. Roselle is associated with traditional medicine and is reported to be used as treatment for several diseases such as hypertension and urinary tract infections. There is currently insufficient evidence to demonstrate any beneficial effect of roselle on raised blood pressure or on blood lipid lowering. although experimental results seem contardictory. It may lower BP in pre- and mildly hypertensive adults. A recent (2007)clinical trial demonstrated important antihypertensive effectiveness Another trial,in 2009,on sixty diabetic patients with mild hypertension found that Hibiscus sabdariffa infusion had positive effects on BP in type II diabetic patients with mild hypertension.

Hibiscus sabdariffa has shown antimicrobial activity against E. coli.

A recent review stated that H. sabdariffa extract exhibits activities against atherosclerosis, liver disease, cancer, diabetes and other metabolic syndromes.
[edit] Phytochemicals

The plants are rich in anthocyanins, as well as protocatechuic acid. The dried calyces contain the flavonoids gossypetin, hibiscetine and sabdaretine. The major pigment, formerly reported as hibiscin, has been identified as daphniphylline. Small amounts of myrtillin (delphinidin 3-monoglucoside), Chrysanthenin (cyanidin 3-monoglucoside), and delphinidin are also present. Roselle seeds are a good source of lipid-soluble antioxidants, particularly gamma-tocopherol.
Harvesting roselle planted on bris (sandy) soils in Rhu Tapai, Terengganu – Sept 02

China and Thailand are the largest producers and control much of the world supply. Thailand invested heavily in roselle production and their product is of superior quality, whereas China’s product, with less stringent quality control practices, is less reliable and reputable. The world’s best roselle comes from the Sudan, but the quantity is low and poor processing hampers quality. Mexico, Egypt, Senegal, Tanzania, Mali and Jamaica are also important suppliers but production is mostly used domestically.

In the Indian subcontinent (especially in the Ganges Delta region), roselle is cultivated for vegetable fibres. Roselle is called meśta (or meshta, the ś indicating an sh sound) in the region. Most of its fibres are locally consumed. However, the fibre (as well as cuttings or butts) from the roselle plant has great demand in various natural fibre using industries.

Roselle is a relatively new crop to create an industry in Malaysia. It was introduced in early 1990s and its commercial planting was first promoted in 1993 by the Department of Agriculture in Terengganu. The planted acreage was 12.8 ha (30 acres) in 1993, but had steadily increased to peak at 506 ha (1,000 acres) in 2000. The planted area is now less than 150 ha (400 acres) annually, planted with two main varieties.[citation needed] Terengganu state used to be the first and the largest producer, but now the production has spread more to other states. Despite the dwindling hectarage over the past decade or so, roselle is becoming increasingly known to the general population as an important pro-health drink in the country. To a small extent, the calyces are also processed into sweet pickle, jelly and jam.
Crop research

In the initial years, limited research work were conducted by Universiti Malaya (UM) and Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI). Research work at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) was initiated in 1999. In many respect, the amount of research work is still considered meagre in supporting a growing roselle industry in Malaysia.
Crop genetic resources & improvement

Genetic variation is important for plant breeders to increase the crop productivity. Being an introduced species in Malaysia, there is a very limited number of germplasm accessions available for breeding. At present, UKM maintains a working germplasm collection, and also conducts agronomic research and crop improvement.
Mutation breeding

Genetic variation is important for plant breeders to increase its productivity. Being an introduced crop species in Malaysia, there is a limited number of germplasm accessions available for breeding. Furthermore, conventional hybridization is difficult to carry out in roselle due to its cleistogamous nature of reproduction. Because of this, a mutation breeding programme was initiated to generate new genetic variability The use of induced mutations for its improvement was initiated in 1999 in cooperation with MINT (now called Malaysian Nuclear Agency), and has produced some promising breeding lines. Roselle is a tetraploid species; thus, segregating populations require longer time to achieve fixation as compared to diploid species. In April 2009, UKM launched three new varieties named UKMR-1, UKMR-2 and UKMR-3, respectively. These three new varieties were developed using variety Arab as the parent variety in a mutation breeding programme which started in 2006.
Natural outcrossing under local conditions

A study was conducted to estimate the amount of outcrossing under local conditions in Malaysia. It was found that outcrossing occurred at a very low rate of about 0.02%. However, this rate is much lower in comparison to estimates of natural cross-pollination of between 0.20% and 0.68% as reported in Jamaica.
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)


Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘White Wings’

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘White Wings’
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘White Wings’ | ‘Hibiscus Wrightii’ Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'White Wings'

‘White Wings’ is another old cultivar that has large white flowers (with a dark red center eye) and dark green leaves. Its long floral tube is white and pink with red stigma pads. It forms a large, full bush, growing up to 4.5m in height. It is similar to, and often confused with the cultivar ‘White Versicolor’, which has yellow stigma pads rather than red. Many nurseries have these cultivars mislabeled. In the 1950s and ’60s, ‘White Wings’ was commonly sold in the U.S., but it has become increasingly difficult to find. If you find it, it is worth growing!

Historical Information: ‘White Wings’ is considered by some to be one of the earliest Hibiscus hybrids or possibly a species form. According to Ross Gast, an American Hibiscus enthusiast in the 1960s, the cultivar known as ‘White Wings’ in the mainland U.S. is the same as ‘Hibiscus Wrightii’. It is also known as narrow-petalled ‘Fijian White’. In recent correspondence (2010) with Geoff Harvey of Queensland Australia, Geoff writes: “the original ‘White Wings’ came from Fiji, but was taken to Hawaii over 100 years ago for use in the early breeding program there. It may not actually be a hybrid, but rather a species or form, along with ‘Fiji Island’, ‘Fijian White’ (narrow-petalled ‘Fijian White’), ‘Fijian Pink’, and ‘Ruby Rose’, found only in Fiji. None of these Hibiscus acquired a botanical description to establish them as official species”.

Regarding the name ‘Hibiscus Wrightii’: William Robert Guilfoyle (Director of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens from 1873-1909), wrote “This I have named ‘Hibiscus Wrightii’, in honor of Mr. Wright, of Hunter’s Hill, Parramatta (New South Wales, Australia) to whom I feel indebted for its discovery, he having visited Pango Bay (Vanuatu), where he saw it some three or four years ago.”

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Fiji Island’

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Fiji Island’


Although ‘Fiji Island’ is currently regarded as an early Hibiscus rosa-sinensis hybrid, it is considered by some to be a “species type” or “near-species type”. Unfortunately, due to a dearth of historical information, we know very little about the origin of this stunning Hibiscus, but it is generally presumed that it originated in Fiji or thereabouts. In recent correspondence (2010) with Geoff Harvey of Queensland Australia, Geoff writes: “It may not actually be a hybrid, but rather a species or form, along with ‘White Wings’, ‘Fijian White’, ‘Fijian Pink’, and ‘Ruby Rose’, found only in Fiji. None of these Hibiscus acquired a botanical description to establish them as official species”.

Whatever the case may be, the appearance of ‘Fiji Island’ is quite different from other rosa-sinensis hybrids. The leaves have finely serrated margins and the flower itself is stunning. Fiji Island has 12cm, single, propeller-shaped blooms with dark pink petals, a darker center, and a prominent staminal column. This beautiful Hibiscus reportedly grows to 3m high, however it has a weeping, spreading habit which means a 3m width is more likely. A prolific bloomer and fast growing. One of my favorites!

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Painted Lady’

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Painted Lady’
Hibiscus rosa-sinenHibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Painted Lady'sis ‘Painted Lady’

I do not grow many of the rosa-sinesis hybrids that are available, however there are a few that have caught my eye: ‘Painted Lady’ is an unpatented Hibiscus cultivar with single flower form, pink flower color, and a dark red eye. I am interested in finding out more about the heritage of this striking variety.

This photo was taken early one morning, before the flower had completely unfurled.