REFERENCE: HIBISCUS GALLERY BY STEWART ROBERT HINSLEY http://www.malvaceae.info/Genera/Hibiscus/gallery.html

Sections and Segregates of Hibiscus

As originally conceived by Linnaeus 1,2 the genus Hibiscus encompassed all the capsular fruited "mallows", except for the cottons. Since his day the various species have become better known, and the number of species known has increased greatly. The genus has been divided into sections 3, and groups of species with distinctive flower or fruit characteristics have been separated out (segregated) as new genera. Some plants related to Hibiscus, and discovered in subsequent years, have been placed in separate genera from the be ginning. Other plants, originally placed in Hibiscus, have turned out to belong elsewhere; for example, H. populneus is now Thespesia populnea, and belongs in the group of genera clustered around Gossypium (cotton).

The last complete treatment of Hibiscus was by Hochreutiner4, and is over a century old. This covered 197 species6. Current estimates of the number of species known vary from about 2005 to in excess of 3006. There are as many more again in related genera.

Botanists have differently divided Hibiscus into sections and segregate genera. In the absence of a recent treatment, there is no division of the genus into sections which commands universal acceptance. The recognized sections vary in nature, from diverse groups like Ketmia, to species rich groups like Furcaria, to small closely knit groups such as Muenchhusia (the North American rose-mallows).



Continued In Part 2 of this Special Supplement of Hibiscus International No. 18


Commentary By: Geoff Harvey

Section Lilibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the commonly used name for the many thousands of complex hybrids derived from genetically compatible species within the Section Lilibiscus. Amateur hybridizing stretches back at least 180 years and today is carried on enthusiastically in many parts of the world. (Left photo: H. schizopetalus, an East African species - Colleen Keena 2003).

The contributing species came from places as far apart as the African East Coast and Hawaii in the Pacific. In its many shapes and forms, the rainbow of colours and breathtaking beauty of our modern hybrids make it the most popular ornamental grown in the tropics and warm climates of the world. It has been called "Queen of the Flowers" displaying a beauty well beyond the power of words.

REFERENCE: HIBISCUS GALLERY BY STEWART ROBERT HINSLEY
http://www.malvaceae.info/Genera/Hibiscus/gallery.html






Commentary By: Colleen Keena

Hibiscus syriacus is in Section Hibiscus. It is a deciduous shrub that is perhaps best known for its cold hardiness. It needs protection until established. There are many named varieties available. The 4" (10 cm) summer flowers are showy, ranging from white to pink to red to lavender. They may have dark coloured centres and can be single or double. Flowering is best in full sun. The leaves have serrated edges. It has been reported that the flowers and leaves are edible. H. syriacus may become a pest species. Sterile varieties such as 'Diana' have been developed. This hibiscus is a hardy, drought-tolerant plant which provides colour over a long season.

REFERENCE: HIBISCUS GALLERY BY STEWART ROBERT HINSLEY
http://www.malvaceae.info/Genera/Hibiscus/gallery.html


Commentary By: Colleen Keena

Section Venusti: This section includes H. mutabilis and H. taiwanensis. Originally from China and Japan, Hibiscus mutabilis is now widely cultivated as an ornamental plant. It flowers in autumn. 'Mutabilis' means changeable and refers to the blooms which change from white to pink throughout the day. Varying shades of colour may be seen on the one bush at the same time. Blooms are of two forms, single or double. Hibiscus mutabilis has a number of common names, e.g. Confederate Rose. Hibiscus mutabilis reaches to 3m x 3m (9' x 9'). While it is frost tender, it can resprout from the base after light frost. It requires full sun. Hibiscus taiwanensis, with white blooms, is similar to Hibiscus mutabilis but has a denser, more compact habit.

REFERENCE: HIBISCUS GALLERY BY STEWART ROBERT HINSLEY
http://www.malvaceae.info/Genera/Hibiscus/gallery.html


Commentary By: Colleen Keena

Section Muenchhusia: This is a group of five North American species known as Rose Mallows. The species are H. coccineus, H. dasycalyx, H. grandiflorus, H. laevis and H. moscheutos. They are perennial wet-land plants which grow back from a rootstock each year:
http://web.utk.edu/~rsmall/research.html
H. dasycalyx
is of current conservation concern. Most have tended to be regarded strictly as garden plants but these species and their hybrids can be harvested for edible flowers and pigments, seed and seed oils during the growing season and at the end of the growing season, canes can be harvested for fibre. See also:
www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/ncnu02/v5-556.html www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/ncnu02/pdf/bost-550.pdf.
(Left photo: H. moscheutos 'Disco Belle Red' Colleen Keena 2003).

REFERENCE: HIBISCUS GALLERY BY STEWART ROBERT HINSLEY
http://www.malvaceae.info/Genera/Hibiscus/gallery.html


Commentary By: Colleen Keena

Section Furcaria. Plants in Section Furcaria are known not just for their beautiful blooms, but because some species have edible calyces, blooms, or leaves. Probably the best known is Hibiscus sabdariffa. Its calyces are used for making jam, cordial and tea. Recipes can be found at: http://www.hibiscus.org/recipes.php The petals of Hibiscus heterophyllus can also be used to make delicious jam, cordial and syrup. For these recipes, see:
http://www.hibiscus.org/culinaryexisting.php The dark red leaves of Hibiscus acetosella make a colourful addition to tossed salads. However, care is needed before eating any hibiscus. Information about eating hibiscus is at: http://www.hibiscus.org/toeat.php. Hibiscus cannabinus is harvested for fibre.





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2002 International Hibiscus Society