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From The President's Desk|Secretary/Treasurer's Report|From The Editor's Desk|Hibiscus Hybridization Guide|Exotic and Alluring Hibiscus|Hybridizing Indoors In Kansas City|Hibiscus International Top 16 Picks|Culture Notes|I.M.H.O|Photo Gallery Section:|Glossary of Terms To Hibiscus Hybridization Guide|Hibiscus International No.16 Special Supplement|


From The President’s Desk

Hello fellow members of the International Hibiscus Society ! It is great to have a chance to once again bring to you this message for the latest issue of the Hibiscus International No.16, which is being presented so well by our new Editor, Carlos.

The last few months have been very busy for Ruth & myself, as we have been going to annual shows for all the Branches of the AuHS, here in Australia, and also the monthly meetings, and running the TPC 2003-2, which has been finalized.

I would like to congratulate the winners of the different sections and also my heartiest congratulations to the Champion entry of Tahitian Dragon, a seed-ling, entered by Richard Johnson. This entry will now go into the final vote for Grand Champion along with Milree Park, the winner of the first TPC 2003-1 entered by Richard Mansbridge; and, the winner of the current TPC 2003-3 for which I am now receiving entries. This competition will close on the 31st August 2003, ready for me to put the TPC up in the International Hibiscus Society web site for you to vote on in September.

I must thank all the members who sent in entries for the TPC. I am sorry you all cannot win but it is good that you join in. I think it is a thrill to see your pictures up in the competition and it also provides an interest for the members that do not enter to see the different blooms that are entered. Otherwise, they probably would not see the flowers from all over the world.

It was good to see a few more members casting their vote in the latest TPC just concluded. I appeal to you all to go in to the site and have a look at the entries and whilst there cast your vote, it only takes a few seconds extra to make a vote and it is all secret, no one will know how you voted. So don’t be scared to have a go and join in the fun of it all.

The latest seed auction and the auction for the black pearls and pearl shell items, has been concluded. It has been a rousing success with plenty of bids coming in. I hope the winners of the bids for the seeds have great success and that we see some great new seedlings come from the plantings. Please remember to let the hybridizers, who kindly donated the seeds, know how your seedlings go as they love to hear how their babies turn out especially those members in the other countries where they do not have access to some of the latest varieties. I hope you get some lovely flowers to boost the collections in your countries.

Richard Mansbridge, our Secretary-Treasurer, will let us know what the auction brought in for our Society, in the way of extra funds, which we need to help us pay our way with web sites and the running expenses of the Society. None of the executives receive any remuneration for their work in our Society. It all goes into the treasury to pay our way.

Joseph Dimino, our Web Master, has had spell in hospital and we wish him well, as he does a very fine job looking after the web site for us and also organizing the auction page for you to enjoy.

  Volume 3, Number 4               Hibiscus International                   August-October 2003

Ursula, our Seed Bank Officer in Germany, is always on the look out for more seeds. If any of the members have surplus seed that you can send her, she has orders waiting to fill and she cannot do this without your help, so please send her some seed when ever you can spare some.

The Topic of the Week has been going very well with some good replies to the topics that I put up each week, and it is through these replies that you will all learn more about our favorite bloom, and hope-fully we will all get some tips that we did not know from the different methods that people use to get the best out of their plants, remember we are never too old to learn something new every day.

The Hibiscus of the Week is also another way of learning about the different plants and how they grow in different sections of the world, also about the bush and what successes members have had with hybridizing with the different varieties, and whether they think it is worth having or not.

I would like to see other members join in and ask questions if you are having any problems managing to grow hibiscus. There are plenty of people in our Society who can and will help you if you ask. But unless you ask we will never be able to help you. We all have to start somewhere so please send your questions. No one will think you are silly or dumb just because you don’t know what to do about a certain problem.

All the best with your hibiscus in the coming months.Regards from Jim & Ruth Purdie.

Secretary/Treasurer's Report

Richard Mansbridge

  Volume 3, Number 4               Hibiscus International                   August-October 2003

Our Editor, Carlos C. Quirino Jr, produced his first HI15 issue at rather short notice and very well done too. Previews of HI16 I have reviewed are very professional and well-researched. I know our Members and Affil-iates are going to enjoy the diversity of hibiscus topics by different contri-butors and the great gallery of photos.

The first seed auction went very well and yielded a net profit of $78.31 for the IHS Treasury. Richard Johnson was the only donor of seed in this auction. The Treasury balance at this time is US$738.17 with some money still coming in. All monies are not yet on hand due to some members being unable to operate their Paypal account and until the banks advise them of their four digit number to link their credit card to the Paypal account. After expenses the net profit should be in the vicinity of US$200.00. However, we do need to generate steady income to meet our Society’s expenses. The Web Site fees are already in excess of US$166.00 and the Domain name cost is US$50.00 per annum.

The second Seed Auction held towards the end of May 2003, was somewhat expanded with new seeds being donated by Richard Johnson, Allan Little, and myself. Richard Johnson also provided black pearls and pearl shell jewelry with 20% of the high bid being donated to the IHS treasury – very generous and good buying for the successful bidders as these particular items are worth 2 or 3 times this amount on the retail market. The second Auction is now closed but keep a watch for the third Auction as we have more people wishing to donate items.

Any ideas for selling your item on our Auction ? The Treasury only want 20% of the top bid. You would need a photo of the item. Inquiries are welcome!

  Volume 3, Number 4               Hibiscus International                   August-October 2003

Mervyn Weis resigned from the position of Australian Representative on the IHS Board of Directors for personal reasons. Thank you Mervyn for your contribution during your tenure!  Mervyn's position on the board has been filled by Graham Boytell from Brisbane QLD,Australia With his back-ground of growing, hybridizing and general knowledge of hibiscus he will be an asset to all our Members and Affiliates as well as his contributions to the running of the Board.

Voting has been completed in the six categories for TPC 2003-2: Singles, Doubles, Miniatures, Seedlings, Miniature Seedlings and Computer Art,  and then members voted for Champion bloom photo which was won by the Seed-ling – Tahitian Dragon, entered by Richard Johnson, a worthy winner. Well done, Dick !

TPC 2003-3 is now open, so please send your entries directly to Jim Purdie for inclusion especially all you lucky people that own a digital camera and have hibiscus growing. You could still win a Black Tahitian Pearl before Christmas and, it is a lot of fun too.

The SOTY/HOTY Committee under the Chairmanship of Richard Johnson has agreed on the format of SOTY, which could be under way later in the year.  The HOTY format, however, is still under discussion, due to it's complexity. Richard Johnson has put forward a range of great ideas for the Committee to contemplate, with input from Committee members, but the reality may be some time in the future yet.

Thank you Jim Purdie for your tireless work to make the IHS the success that it is today, our numbers are growing and more members are partici-pating. I just love the 1-1/2  hours I am allowed  on line each evening. Sometimes I stay a little longer. Many thanks to all Board Members for your valuable contributions !

Richard Mansbridge
IHS Secretary/Treasurer

From The Editor's Desk

Carlos C. Quirino, Jr.

  Volume 3, Number 4               Hibiscus International                   August-October 2003

This issue of Hibiscus International No. 16 contains a few more additions to its evolving format. Much effort and attention has been focused on illustrating as many articles with photos and graphics in order to provide a eye-pleasing presentation for our viewing public. In addition to the articles, photos have been collected from various members and af-filiates of our Society and are juxtaposed against  particular points of mention in some articles in question to provide a handy pictorial reference on the subject at hand. For example, Geoff Harvey’s article (an ongoing series) provides eight (8) photographic samples of F1 hybrids resulting from a few H. rosa-sinensis (x) H. schizopetalus crosses developed by some members of our Society to give a more vivid idea of what hybridizing the Queen of the Tropics can produce using a particular and related species.          

In her “Exotic and Alluring Hibiscus”, Gloria White has once again come up with a good piece and specifically on Curt Sinclair when she reveals that he is “…living a dream” but definitely not la vida loca. Some of Curt’s better known cultivars such as: Blue Thunder, Fourth of July, Jamie Lou, Sun Shower and Red Snapper, to name a few, are also illustrated. Robert Cook, who resides in Kansas City,USA provides us some insights on how he goes about hybridizing his collection of hibiscus in the northern climes and provides samples of his successful efforts even in an area of the world where temperatures can sometimes register below the freezing point.

Starting with this issue of H.I., we introduce a section titled “I.M.H.O.” (or, In My Humble Opinion) derived from responses on various topics discussed in our Soiciety’s eGroups Mail List. For starters, Dick Johnson provides his honest opinion on what constitutes a good bush and goes on to develop an insightful analysis based on his wide travels and experiences. This is then followed up with another good article on pruning by Jim Purdie on the Culture Notes section found in Part 2 of this issue.

And, there is much more. We trust our readers will enjoy this issue as much as I have experienced the pleasure of putting it together for them!

Supplementary pages to this ‘Hibridizing Guide’ (see Part 2 of this Issue) look at some genetical aspects in a diagrammatical form as well as a glossary of terms encountered in breeding. Genetics is the study of heredity at both the structural and functional levels. We as serious hybridizers should be interested in the study of genes and the part they play in inheritance.
Practically all of our food crops, livestock and ornamental plants have been subjected to extensive breeding and commercial improvement. Our ‘low key’ breeding studies may involve breeding ex-periments with selected cultivars aimed at improve-ment in our ornamental Hibiscus as a whole.

Within the Hibiscus family, Cotton – Gossypium is a major fiber producing plant and it is here that we look to the professional geneticists and modern methods that are available in improving and adapting this important crop.

The genetic material of cells is DNA organized into structures called chromo-somes. These occur in sets and are contained in a larger structure called the nucleus.

The letter N is often used to denote a base set of chromosomes. The number of sets is the ploidy, for example, having a double set. Thus, 2N  is a diploid. When multiple sets occur, the condition is called polyploid.

A quote from Ross Gast “I have collected a large number of varieties in many parts of the world in recent years and chromosome counts and other studies are being made. Results so far indicates that Skovsted’s reference to H. rosa-sinensis as being a ‘mixed collection of highly polyploid hybrids’ is correct”.

  Volume 3, Number 4               Hibiscus International                   August-October 2003

Polyploidy refers to the condition in which cells contain more than twice the haploid number of chromosomes.  Therefore, the term tetraploid indicates that a cell has four sets or triploid 3 sets and so on. In the horticultural trade, polyploidy tends to be publicized only in those instances where it confers desirable characters such as gigantism of floral parts, increased vigor or adaptability to a wide range of soils and climates.

Whenever sexual cells or gametes are to be produced, the parent cell must have at least two sets of chromosomes. If this condition is not met, the meiotic (chromosome sorting) mechanism will not be able to provide the gametes with a complete set of chromosomes. Failure to do so often results in death of the sexual cell; failure to breed, or sterility of offspring. When the gametes have extra chromosomes from polyploidy, this kind of genetic breeding barrier is not as critical.  With many hybrids and forms making up our H. rosa-sinensis complex it being polyploid, some of these  isolating mechanisms are not so problematic and the chances of producing successful hybrids is enhanced.
The chances of success when crossing a species e.g. H. lilliflorus onto a H. rosa-sinensis polyploid hybrid is far greater than the reverse cross (ref. Gast). The 2N chromosome number for H. rosa-sinensis and H. schizopetalus is considered to be: 2N = 46, whilst H. arnottianus is: 2n = 80 and, 2N = 84.

The Hawaiian whites of course display polymorphism (i.e., existing in several forms, as does H. lilliflorus and the Hawaiian red species H. kokio (bottom left, inset: University of Hawaii © 2001). The Hawaiian species are cross compatible with H. rosa-sinensis
(left, inset), undoubtedly their chromosomes being derived from a combination of ancestral types.

In attempting our crosses we may come up against many unseen barriers preventing seed from forming. Some varieties are regarded as being “hot pollen” producers and some make reliable female parents. In 1982, I used Brenda Miller as the pollen parent on 31 female cultivars to produce 1243 seed from 104 seed capsules. Of those grown and observed, none of the seedling blooms were very outstanding. Occasional reference may be encountered to the proposed genetically compatible grouping within the genus Hibiscus under the name Lilibiscus 

  Volume 3, Number 4               Hibiscus International                   August-October 2003

Some X. rosa-sinensis (x) H. schizopetalus Hybrids

Rosalind (x)
H. schizopetalus
Allan Little © 2002

Nazaria (x)
H. schizopetalus
C.C.Quirino. © 2003

Waimea Beauty (x)
H. schizopetalus
R. Mansbridge © 2002

Agnes Galt (x)
H. schizopetalus
C.C.Quirino. © 2003

Emerita de Guzman (x)
H. schizopetalus
C.C. Quirino © 2003

Norma Jean (x)
H. schizopetalus
Allan Little © 2002

Millennia (x)
H. schizopetalus
C.C. Quirino © 2003

Gelia Castillo (x)
H. schizopetalus
C.C. Quirino © 2003

Most of the breeding strategy over the years has been directed at floral traits. Much work needs to be done in producing hardier, long-lived, own-root garden varieties whilst retaining high standard blooms.  Breeders would probably need to limit their efforts to a few well chosen plants aimed at producing hybrids that are more likely than average to have the specific combinations of traits that are wanted. Some of the traits showing up in modern hybrids, such as naturally occurring dwarfism and the new range of colors e.g., the near blues and charcoal shades offers interesting potential. It is a puzzle to try and identify where these traits come from in the known Hibiscus ancestry that is a cross compatible with x rosa-sinensis. (Some of the leaf shapes and bloom colors e.g., mauve seem to be very reminiscent of H. syriacus which is not considered to be a progenitor of our modern hybrids.

[To Be Continued In Our Next Issue: Part 3 – Hibiscus-Applied Genetics]


  Volume 3, Number 4               Hibiscus International                   August-October 2003

Going to a hibiscus show gives an individual a small inkling of what hibiscus cultivars are available. At least they have a better clue than when you try to hybridize the flowers. Many hybridizers start out pollinating whatever happens to be opened that day. After awhile though, the hybridizer starts to get selective.  It is after they concentrate on good bushes, color and prolific bloomers that they often strike gold.

Recently, the hibiscus world received a boost from watching the past American Hibiscus Society National President, Curt Sinclair appear on the Martha Stewart Living Show. Sinclair did a fine job of representing the Society and letting others know what we already know.  Hibiscus are beau-tiful, colorful and fun to grow. In November, House & Garden also car-ried a color page on flowers from Sinclair’s stable.  The combination of the two media presentations has done plenty to alert the public what is in store when they go to pick a hibiscus.

I met Sinclair at the Tampa Show in February 2002. Immediately, I introduced myself and asked for an interview. I knew that he was busy entering his blooms so I waited patiently to meet and talk flowers with the then current National President of the AHS. The owner of Exotic Hibiscus, Inc. is a very down to earth hybridizer. If you have questions about plants, he will share his knowledge if you ask. Sinclair told me that he joined the AHS when a friend of his paid for his membership and informed him he know belonged to the Society. This was in 1989-90. Sinclair has been a member of the Sunset Chapter in St. Petersburg, Florida since that time.

  Volume 3, Number 4               Hibiscus International                   August-October 2003

I asked Sinclair when he started in hibiscus, and he told me that over 10 years ago he went to a show and saw these blooms.  He asked someone “what’s a seedling?” The person explained and he exclaimed, “I can do that!” These flowers fascinated him so he bought 25 cultivars at his first show. Soon those 25 plants were joined by the next 25 from the second show he attended. Sinclair was on his way to building a solid collection of plants.

In that first year, his plants were very happy plants.  They all had “sex.” In fact they had so much sex in 1991-92, that Sinclair was able to say he had 7000 seedlings. I am sure out of that multitude; he was on his way to pave the road to over 150 registered cultivars. Here is the short list of some of Sinclair’s cul-tivars: Marilyn Quayle, Ja- milou, Sun Shower, Gator’s Pride, Blue Thun-  der, Chad, Pink Frost-ing, Angel Wings, Erin Rachel, Harry Boris, Carolyn’s Halo, Center Stage, Fourth of July and Red Snapper. If he had to pick a favorite of his creations, it would be Red Snapper. This bloom has never won HOTY but it is a beauty. Sinclair considers himself a hobbyist. (Center Photo: Plum Pudding – AusHS © 2001)

Sinclair believes that about 20% of cultivars will grow on their own roots.  Red Snapper is one of his that has to be grafted.  He feels that many grafted plants that die easily after a short amount of time may be rejection of the graft.
He feels that the rootstock may be species specific and may have a lot to do why one plant may do well on one rootstock and not so well on others.  The rootstock he discussed were Pride of Hankins, Albo Lacinatus and President. Sinclair has over 1000 varieties if you count seedlings. He is very selective on what he keeps at his nursery.
(Upper Left Photo Inset: Rusty Nail – AusHS © 2001)

Sinclair starts his cuttings in oasis cubes using a piece of wood that is approximately 2 inches in length. When I asked him for a tip for beginners, he advised to “Ask questions and read the books available.”

  Volume 3, Number 4               Hibiscus International                   August-October 2003

Sinclair was elected President of his Chapter from 1991-1996. He has held the position on several occasions. He has finished his tenure as President where he has served the Society from 2000-2002. Sinclair proudly states that his tenure was during the 50th anniversary of the AHS. Before that, he was National 1st Vice President from 1998-2000 and 2nd Vice President from 1996-1997. Sinclair has served on the seedling evaluation committee from 1998-2000. In June 2002 at the National American Hibiscus Society Convention, Sinclair passed the mantle of National President to Roz Merritt. Now Sinclair can enjoy tennis and his hibiscus.  He is an insurance agent and runs his Exotic Hibiscus as a passion. As a parting shot I asked Sinclair for a favorite cultivar and he replied that Honey Do was as good as any.  I think he loves them all.  I should have asked him how many he had now. He left me with a quote that is haunting.  Sinclair tells you he is “living a dream”. How many of us can say that? The only thing missing is that he is currently searching for the right woman. So ladies, there is a position available for Queen of his Heart.


In a kingdom in the peninsula of flowers, there lays a river wide where the mysterious Flower Genie met with a Wizard, who produced gems of colors never seen before. The Genie watched in marvel as the Wizard brought out gem after gem, colors of the rainbow and colors unseen before. With a flourish, the Wizard used his wand to make the gems magically appear out of air.

The Mysterious Flower Genie watched intently as the Wizard produced a lovely gem of white and touched it with his wand, and poof ! Red streaks dappled the gem and it sparkled in the sun.

The Wizard gave the Mysterious Flower Genie this gem and with a bow disappeared in a puff of purple smoke

From the Chronicles of the Mysterious Flower Genie from the peninsula of flowers – Red Snapper.


  Volume 3, Number 4               Hibiscus International                   August-October 2003

Sinclair’s Sensations – 1

Blue Thunder

B.Rivers-Smith ©2002

Center Stage

Erin Rachel

Fourth of July

F.Levavasseur © 2003

Harry Boris

Jamie Lou
R.Johnson © 2002

Marilyn Quayle
R.Cook © 2001

Pink Frosting

Sun Shower

Red Snapper

Angel Wings
J.Purdie © 2003

J.Purdie © 2003

Carolyn's Halo
J.Purdie © 2003

Gator's Pride
J.Purdie © 2003

Aimee's Toy
AusHS © 2001

Aztec Sun
AusHS © 2001

  Volume 3, Number 4               Hibiscus International                   August-October 2003

Sinclair’s Sensations – 2

Birthday Girl
AusHS © 2001

Blue Mist
AusHS © 2001

Carmen Camera
AusHS © 2001

Golden Anniversary
AusHS © 2001

Jim Barry
AusHS © 2001

Maralyn Wentzell
AusHS © 2001

Millenium Superstar
AusHS © 2001

Mike Hudson
AusHS © 2001

Mr. Green Thumb
AusHS © 2001

Orange Punch
AusHS © 2001

Peppermint Cloud
AusHS © 2001

Pink Petticoat

AusHS © 2001

Prince Henry
AusHS © 2001

Soft Cloud
AusHS © 2001

Soft Touch
AusHS © 2001

AusHS © 2001

  Volume 3, Number 4               Hibiscus International                   August-October 2003

I have been hybridizing the last couple of years on a very small scale. I am in zone 5 so have to bring my plants inside during the winter months. With the limited amount of space I do have I have made a space for around 30 new seedlings each year. I have tried doing crosses outside with no success. I just think the elements of nature (e.g., wind, heat, cold, insects, etc.) have a lot to do with it in the Kansas weather.

When I bring my plants inside in October they are all loaded with buds so I do not prune the ones I want to hybridize at this time. I bring them in and will begin my hybridizing. Some days I will have a dozen different plants with blooms and then I just have to pick out what crosses I want too make out of what I have blooming. I don’t really cross reds with reds and yellows with yellows, but try to make crosses of different colors with the hopes of getting a multicolor blotched or striped bloom. Since all of my plants are in pots, I can pollinate all the blooms. I will just pick up a pot with a plant in bloom and carry it over to the plant I want to cross and rub the pollen on the pollen pad.

Here is a illustration of how I pollinate:


  Volume 3, Number 4               Hibiscus International                   August-October 2003

After the stigma pads are coated with pollen from another bloom it is just a waiting period to see if it took or not. I have occasionally got a real nice pod but was empty of seeds, so you never know. Once the pods form it will look like the left photo below. After about 6 weeks after pollinating the seed pod will crack and is ready to pick and will look like the right photo below.

Mother Nature Does Its Work

       A Developing Seedpod            à

A Ripened Seedpod

At this point you harvest your seeds and I keep records of the day I did the pollinating, the date I harvest the seed and also the date I planted the seed.

I have planted seeds directly out of the pod but for the most part I like to wait at least a couple of weeks. I have seed that was over 2 years old that when planted still came up. Also I have had some seed that would not sprout but not very often. I use Jiffy Pods to plant the seed in and have had good success rate of about 75%
(Right photo above).

  Volume 3, Number 4               Hibiscus International                   August-October 2003

Here is a photo (left, inset) of some of my seedlings. The smaller ones in the front are this year’s seedlings but the ones in the back will be a couple years old and should all bloom this year.    Below are several photos of my first seedlings and their respective parents. I think hybridizing is a lot of fun and you just never know what you will get. What amazes me most is the different blooms you can get on plants grown from the same seedpod but all are very different.


  Volume 3, Number 4               Hibiscus International                   August-October 2003



>>>  TOP 16 PICKS  <<<

  Volume 3, Number 4               Hibiscus International                   August-October 2003


  Volume 3, Number 4               SPECIAL  FEATURE                   August-October 2003

No.7 Amber Suzanne

Allan Little © 2002

No. 8 Berried Treasure
R. Mansbridge © 2002

No.9: Body Heat
A.Westerman © 2002

No.10: Elderberry

No.11: Misfire
Chris Noble © 2003

No.12: Wallflower Chris Noble © 2003

No.13: Wagon Wheel

No.14: Mystique

No.15 Herm Geller

Mervyn Weis © 2002



No.16: Penny Sue
Other Articles, Glossary of Terms and Photo Gallery Section
are continued in
Part 2 of this issue of Hibiscus International No. 16.

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