By: Jim Purdie
I would like discuss the subject of
pruning your plants. The ideal time to be thinking about carrying out this exercise
is in the Spring which coincides with your plants beginning to start sending out
new growth as the weather starts to warm up after the cold winter months.
is brought about by a few things the most important being that daylight hours
begin to get longer as the sun on its journey begins to get closer to your country
where you live, be it in the northern or southern regions of the world.
as it gets closer, the weather begins to warm up and this causes the sap to flow
and in so doing it causes the roots to start to draw more nourishment from the
soil. This causes the plant to go into a growing mode with new shoots beginning
to appear at the eyes on the mostly bare sticks we have seen during the winter.
3, Number 4
Always make sure, if you live in areas
where you experience frosts, not to do your pruning until the danger of frosts
have passed as frost will burn off the tender new shoots.
We prune our plants for a variety of
reasons. I will list the most important reasons that we have to prune for:
1. To train a plant or bush into a
2. To maintain the bush to a manageable
size and open up the bush to the sun by pruning away the middle branches which
have grown into the middle thus blocking out the air and light.
3. It helps in the control and to be
able to see any attacks of insects more easily.
4. It will encourage stronger growth.
As branches are shortened when you prune them, it will cause the plant to send
out more branches and if you have more branches you have a better chance of obtaining
5. Pruning gets rid of old and weak
branches and those which have grown in a crisscross fashion causing a cluttered
plant and all those that have grown out of shape.
6. If you prune your plants in the
Spring you help the bush to promote larger and better blooms, of good shape and
size. Hibiscus thrive on being pruned in the Spring and you do not have to get
a step ladder to see the flowers when the branches get too long. When you prune
the tops of the branches, it causes the plant to start shooting down lower and
instead of bare sticks you will see a plant covered in nice green leaves and more
branches. As I have said above, more branches means more flowers. This happens
because when you prune the tops off, it stops the growing cycle from the tip.
I start to prune I try to think how the bush grows and prune the plant according
to the way it grows. By that I mean if the plant is an average grower, I will
prune off about a third of the bush. If the bush is a tall fast grower I will
prune off about a
half and if the
plant is a slow low grower I will only just prune
the tips otherwise it takes too long to recover if you give it a hard prune and
you will miss out on the flowers for that season and have to wait until next year
to see some blooms.
3, Number 4
I always cut off the low lying branches
usually leaving a 12 inch space under the bush which allows you to keep
things clean under the bush and also if there are low lying branches,
if a flower come on these branches it drags in the dirt and there is a
danger of snails causing damage to the petals.
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I prune just above an outward pointing
eye, using a slanting cut away from the eye, so any water will run away
from the eye, and also it encourages the new shoot to grow outwards instead
into the middle of the plant, and I always try to end up with a pruned
bush, which is in the shape of a vase. Make sure your secateurs are kept
clean and sharp, so they will give a clean cut, and I like to dip my secateurs
in some alcohol or methylated spirits between bushes to prevent spreading
Some members do not prune all the branches
at one time so they are able to still have blooms while they wait for
the new growth to flower. These remain-ing branches can be pruned once
the new growth commences flowering.
If you are growing in pots this is
a good time to think about doing a root prune at the same time as you prune the
top of the plant, and repot into some fresh potting mix, with some slow release
fertilizer included in the mix, either into the same size pot if it is the biggest
you want to go to, or the next size pot if it is in a smaller pot.
When the bush is putting out a lot
of new growth this is the time when I apply fertilizer high in nitrogen to promote
new growth and apply this until you see new buds starting to form and then I start
to use a fertilizer higher in potash than nitrogen to promote flowers instead
of nice green leaves.
The fertilizer mix I use after pruning,
for the plants I have in the ground, is one that I mix myself, and is as follows:
ice cream [ 2 litre ] cans of Blood & Bone;
of Super Phosphate;
of Sulphate of Potash;
of Magnesium Sulphate or Epsom Salts; and,
e. Ό of Sulphate
mix all this well together and apply
a good handful around each bush. Then I cover this with a good cover, about 2
to 3 inches, of a suitable mulch. This will keep the roots cool in the hot weather
If you follow these instructions
you will be on your way to having a nice healthy bush with plenty of flowers.
Collage By: Carlos C. Quirino, Jr.
Photo of Cheo: Jim Purdie © 2003
A "good bush" means different things
to different people. In Europe it is basically a compact, natural branched
plant which when pruned responds with several new branches. In the US and 0z, it needn't necessary
be that compact, is considered generally acceptable if it forms a nice
bush with proper pruning; hence, needn't necessarily be a good natural
brancher and two branches per pruned stem is I think think considered
OK. Now both of these "good bushes" are generated by slightly different
needs based on climate, growing condi-tions, etc. However, it has occurred
to me that in the past the interpretation of a "good bush" is too narrow.
For example, I can envision special purpose bushes such as hanging baskets,
the patio, etc. in which case neither of the above "good bushes" would
be ideal on a patio. I could well envision a plant which cascades over
the side of the pot making a mound of greenery with blooms. If one can
develop a similar type bush of small enough size, it might be adaptable
as a hanging basket plant.
My point is that I think it is worth considering hybrids with growth habits
that do not fit the classic garden variety profile. For that reason I'm saving
a few of those Miss Liberty seedlings that have inherited what is considered the
worst of Miss Liberty qualities, i.e., a bush that has curling or spiraling branches
that fall over the edge of the pot.
won't want such a plant in your garden, but might find it very attractive on the
patio, around the pool, on a terrace or in an apartment where you want low profile
This brings to mind another aspect of a cv bush type. Miss Liberty, again
as an example, is a notorious floppy bush, but if you grow it like Allan
Little does (Photo, left inset: Persephone Standard Bush: Allan Little © 2002),
it is respectable and compares favorably to the typical "good bush" form,
although still perhaps not ideal.
What I'm getting at is that a cultivar may or
may not have a typical growth habit and in many cases, it varies from one bush
of the same cv to another. I have several cultivars for which I have double and
triples of the same plant, essentially all grown and pruned similarly, yet I find
different growth habits.
Snapper for instance has two growth forms for me: 1) an open rigid bush
with lateral somewhat twisted branches with pom-poms of leaves at the
end and, 2) one with vertical growing better foliated branches, which
needs support. Same cultivar, two different appearances.
Now if I were trialing this cv and only had one
plant, I might come up with two entirely different opinions of its growth habits.
Another example, as I mentioned recently, I have a heavily pruned Rum Runner both
because of the demand for wood and because it was growing into an awkward bush
with lateral branches. Now, I can hardly imagine a HOTY candidate of the stature
of Rum Runner having been considered for a HOTY award if it had the growth habits
of mine. (Right top photo: Gabriela bushed in pots: C. Quirino
3, Number 4
also have several others with duplicate plants - Improved Crimson Ray, Dragon's
Breath, Fantasy Charm, High Voltage, to name but a few, and in every case one
particular plant for a given cultivar will have a notably nicer classic bush type"
than the others of the same cultivar, which all goes to point out that there is
some variability, even significant variability, in bush type for a given cultivar.
We've had occasion to talk about this before,
i.e., Black Knight and Eva Paoloni - which are for most people not ideal
bushes, but for others are quite acceptable. I know, when we talk about
the bush type of a given cultivar, we are talking about averages, but
the above will perhaps serve as food for thought concerning the subject
of hybrid-izing and the significance of bush type (Photo,
left inset: Mellie May bush from Greg Lindsay: R.Johnson © 2002).
I suspect that if we
would get the opinions of beginning hibiscus growers, especially those that grow
in pots and in confined spaces, e.g., an apartment, their ideal bush type may
not be that which is generally considered best and based on the typical garden
variety profile, i.e., as an in-ground plant for the garden.
3, Number 4
NATIVE HIBISCUS AND
SPECIES AND HYBRIDS
By: Colleen Keena,
species of hibiscus that occur in Australia range from plants found only in Australia,
such as Hibiscus splendens, H. divaricatus and H. heterophyllus,
to plants with a widespread distribution, e.g. Hibiscus diversifolius and
Hibiscus tiliaceus, now Talipariti tiliaceum. H. trionum
has forms such as var vesicarius that occur only in Australia. Plants can be small
like H. trionum and H. sturtii, through to large shrubs such as
H. heterophyllus, H. divaricatus and H. splendens. Many are
useful plants. The petals of Hibiscus heterophyllus, or of crosses from
it, can be made into a delicious jam, cordial or syrup. Seeds of Hibiscus heterophyllus
were collected on the Baudin expedition of 1800 and grown by Empress Josephine
at Malmaison. The botanist Aim θ Bonland wrote of its medicinal qualities, noting
that it tasted like sorrel and could be grown in a vegetable garden. It was painted
for the Empress Josephine by P.J.Redoutι. This botantical painting can be seen
in Napoleon, the Empress and the Artist by Jill, Duchess of Hamilton.
3, Number 4
trionum var vesicarius |
(All Photos In Photo
Colleen Keena © 2002)
3, Number 4
HIBISCUS HYBRIDIZING GUIDE
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
One of a pair
of genes responsible for contrasting traits.
to the Hibiscus ovary or capsule, the separating and falling away from its point
of attachment because of disintegration of the abscission layer.
The male element
consisting of stamens and filament.
part of the stamen borne at the top of the filament.
SAC A sac-like
unit of the anther containing the pollen. There are two pollen sacs in each lobe
or half of the anther.
plant that has its seed enclosed in an ovary.
found in the embryo sac at the end farthest away from the microphyle.
with all of the three or more basic chromosome sets derived from the same species.
A plant hormone
that regulates growth.
point between chromosomes. During the production of sex cells, such as sperm and
eggs, these crossing-over points are the places where sections of maternal and
paternal chromosomes are swapped. At the chiasmata (pl.) the chromosomes are cut,
ends are swapped and new hybrid chromosomes rejoin. This makes new combinations
of pre-existing genes in the offspring produced by sexual reproduction.
body made up of protein and gene-carrying D.N.A. Chromosomes exist as pairs in
the nucleus one chromosome in a pair coming from each parent. Hibiscus species
have a set number of chromosomes. The organization of a chromosome enables it
genes to be copied before mitosis so that each daughter cell receives a complete
OR TRAIT A specific
aspect in the organization of an organism. Traits under genetic control such as
petal color in Hibiscus may be inherited and are subject to natural selection.
a dry dehiscent fruit composed of five united carpels.
or process of opening of a seed capsule or anther.
plant such as Hibiscus whose seeds have two seed leaves or cotyledons. Hibiscus
retain these seed leaves for a considerable period after germination.
cells resulting from the division of a previously existing cell called a mother
cell. The two daughter cells receive identical nuclear materials.
genomes or basic sets of chromosome. The genome is the total gene set possessed
by an individual organism.
3, Number 4
acid) is the long super molecule consisting of alternating
units of nucleotides composed of deooxytribose sugar, phosphates
and nitrogen bases. The complete sequence of bases, organized
into triplets, is the genetic code.
GENE Principle first
observed by Mendel that one gene may prevent the expression
of al allele or so-called recessive gene when they are present
together at the same points on each of a pair of chromosomes.
SAC The tissue
in a plant ovule that contains the egg, the antipodals, the
polar nuclei and the synergids.
In a seed, the part of the embryo plant that lies above
the attachment of the cotyledons and from which the stem and
leaves will develop.
The slow process
of change by which organisms have acquired their distinguishing
of two gametes resulting in the formation of a new individual
A stalk of
a stamen bearing the anther at its tip.
A male or
female reproductive cell that is capable of uniting with another
gamete to produce a fertilized egg or zygote that, in turn,
is capable of developing into a new individual. The gamete
will normally have a haploid (halved) chromosome set.
section of DNA in a cells nucleus. A gene contains the information
to specify the structure of a single protein. Genes are inheritable
and are passed down from generation to generation.
NUCLEUS The nucleus
in the pollen grain that divides to form two sperm nuclei.
CODE The sequential
arrangement of the bases in the DNA molecule which controls
traits of an organism. The code of all living things is concerned
with protein construction.
of genes and the part they play in inheritance.
gene set possessed by an individual organism.
constitution of an individual organization.
A term for
the halved set of chromosomes found in sex cells. At fertilization
the two halved sets reconstitute the species paired or diploid
number of chromosomes.
of traits or characteristics from one generation to the next.
A plant resulting
from a cross between parents that are genetically unlike.
The offspring of two different species or their infraspecific
the crossing of closely related strains of plants (or animals)
to preserve certain genetic traits.
of a continual sequence of crossing between the offspring
of a small, often isolated group of organism. Inbreeding generally
results in an increase in the genetic similarity between individuals
in the group since no new genes are produced.
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DOMINANCE A blend of
two traits resulting from a cross of these characteristics.
MOTHER CELLS Diploid cells
in the plant ovary that divides twice forming four haploid megaspores.
formed from the megaspore mother cell, three of which disintegrate leaving one
to develop into an embryo sac.
particular type of chromosomal division that takes place during the production
of sex cells or haploid gametes. In meiotic divisions diploid cells are transformed
into haploid cells and new gene combinations are produced on single chromosomes
by chiasma formation the crossing over between chromosome segments.
in the ovule wall through which the pollen tube enters.
CELL A cell that
has undergone growth and is ready to divide.
ALLELES One or two
or more pairs of genes that act together to produce a specific trait.
A change in
genetic makeup resulting in new characteristics that can be inherited. Mutations
can be caused by external influences such as toxic chemicals or ionizing radiation.
They can also result from mistakes made during the copying of DNA.
SELECTION The key evolutionary
process whereby some natural variants of a species are favored because of their
high levels of reproductive success. If the characteristics are inheritable the
genes that determine them will increase in the population.
The part of the cell that
of the development of female reproductive cells whereby the diploid chromosome
number is reduced to the haploid.
ovule bearing part of the pistil.
that, after fertilization, becomes the seed; the egg containing unit
of the ovary.
physical constitution of an organism; the outward appearance partly generated
by its genes (its genotype) during development and physical factors such as environmental
A unit of
the corolla, one of the colored parts of the flower.
The part of
the flower composed of ovary, style and stigma.
NUCLEI The two nuclei
in the embryo sac in flowers that fuse with one of the sperm nuclei to form the
or grains borne by the anther of a spermatophyte.
in the anther containing pollen grains.
TUBE The tube formed
by a pollen grain when it grows down the style of a pistil.
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pollen from an anther to a receptive stigma pad.
through which heredity is transmitted by way of genes occurring within the nucleus
of each living cell of the plant body in sets which are known technically as genomes.
Ploidy refers to the degree of duplication of genomes of or individual chromosomes
making up the genome. Normally, each vegetative cell of the plant body contains
two genomes and the plant is known as a diploid. Continued duplication of genomes
leads to the formation of polyploid plants: four (tetraploid); five (pentaploid);
six (hexaploid), etc. If the genomes included in the polyploid are duplicates
of each other, that is, derived from the same individual or the same species,
the plant is an autopolyploid. If the genomes are dissimilar, derived from parents
belonging to different species, the plant is an allopolyploid. Many hybrid hibiscus
are probably allopolyploid
in which cells contain more than twice the haploid number of chromosomes.
GENE A gene which
has little effect on the phenotype of a plant when it is paired up with a corresponding
DIVISION The reduction
of chromosomes during meiosis from the diploid number to the haploid number.
REPRODUCTION The process
in which male and female sex cells or gametes fuse to produce the first cell of
a new organism.
embryo plant surrounded by an endosperm and protected by a seed coat.
is the primary or fundamental concept in the understanding of the forms of life.
It is the basic unit in classification. Species are combined into genera and variations
or subordinate forms of these may be distinguished as subspecies, variety and
form in descending order of the botanical hierarchy.
of the development of male reproductive cells whereby the diploid chromosome number
is reduced to the haploid.
A seed producing
plant such as Hibiscus.
The male reproductive
part of the flower bearing an anther at its tip.
The part of
the pistil that receives the pollen grains.
of the pistil.
One of two
structures formed on either side of the egg in the embryo sac of flowers.
A group of
four pollen grains or spores.
A term used
to indicate that a cell has four sets of homologous chromosomes.
NUCLEUS One of three
nuclei present in a pollen tube.
A fusion body
formed when two gametes unite to become a diploid cell. As the zygote divides
by mitosis so a new individual grows.
3, Number 4
article has been compiled by Colleen Keena from Queensland, Australia, Kristin
Yanker-Hansen from California, USA and Marcos Capelini from Sγo Paulo, Brazil
and is part of the Marvellous Mallows series.
times in novels or in films the hibiscus flower is referred to as fragrant. Yet
in reality very few have that trait, except for the white hibiscus species from
Hawaii has a number of species of the Hibiscus family.
Although some of these also occur in other countries and may have been introduced
to Hawaii (P1;W1), there are a number of species of hibiscus which are endemic
to Hawaii (W2).
The "P" and "W" links in the text
refer respectively to the printed material ("P") and material
on the web ("W") listed in the "References" section
One of the species
endemic to Hawaii is Hibiscus arnottianus.
It is noted for its
fragrance (W3). It is described as a spectacular shrub during its flowering
season with its large, white flowers. While the frag-rance and beauty
of Hibis-cus arnottianus are impor-tant features, it is often
used by horticulturists to hybridise with Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (W4)[H.
arnottianus Bush In Australia: Richard Johnson
while Hibis-cus arnottianus is a beauti-ful plant in its own right,
with fragrance and spec-tacular flowering,its com-patibility with Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is a feature that has not only been
of interest to early hybridisers but continues to attract those interested
in developing new forms of hibiscus. This interest in hybridising was
reflected in the very first issue of Hibiscus International by Jill
Coryell (W5) and will be discussed in Part 4 of this article.
arnottianus is an evergreen multi-trunked shrub or small tree, growing to
8 - 10 m (2430 ft) high, with a dense crown of foliage and smooth trunk and branches.
The leathery, dark green, ovate leaves are entire (with smooth margins) and are
5 15 cm (26 inches) long. The leaf veins and stems commonly are red. The tubular,
slightly fragrant, solitary flowers, measuring up to 4 inches across, are white
with pinkish veins or pure white with red filaments and a magenta staminal column.
The papery fruiting capsule is about 2.5 cm (1 inch). It contains seeds covered
with fine yellowish-brown hairs (tomentose)
(Upper right photo: H. Arnottianus
Bush in Australia: Colleen Keena © 2003).
3, Number 4
subspecies of Hibiscus arnottianus are currently recognized (1997:W6):
has smooth young stems, leaves, pedicels, and calyces;
native to Oahu (Wahiawa to Niu Valley).
Immaculatus has unusually deeply crenate leaves and a white staminal
column; native to Molokai (Wailau, Waihanau. and Papalaua valleys).
Punaluuensis a robust form with moderately coarse pubescence on young
stems, leaves, pedicels, and calyces; native to Oahu (Kaipapau to Waiahole).
have been selected by the Harold L. Lyon Arboretum: 'Kanani Kea' a selection with
large flowers and good form. 'Shy Girl'-flowers with a pink blush on the back
of the petals and edges (W6).
of the subspecies, Hibiscus arnottianus subsp. immaculatus was design-nated
as endangered in 1992 (W7).
flower buds of Hibiscus arnottianus subsp. immaculatus were eaten,
or are eaten still, by Hawaiians as a gentle laxative. Cordage was also made from
the stripped bark (W8). A more detailed description of the species and subspecies
is available (W9).
Hibiscus arnottianus is now grown well beyond Hawaii. For example, it is
grown in areas as far apart as California and Queensland, Australia, and in a
range of conditions. Any consideration of culture needs to take into account the
environment in which Hibiscus arnottianus occurs. Hibiscus arnottianus
is found in dry to wet forest areas at 300 m - 800 m (1000-2500 ft) elevation.
It grows best under filtered shade in moist, well drained soils, but it will tolerate
full sun (W10). Although this plant will thrive in partially shaded areas, for
at least the subspecies immaculatus, it will bloom more in full sun (W8)
(Left photo: Colleen Keena © 2002).
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Although in its original location Hibiscus arnottianus grows
best under filtered shade, references on cultivation recommend a full
sun position (W:10) with the ideal being an open sunny situation (P3).
with growing it in California and Queensland sug-gests that established
plants can recover from light frosts (-4C/25 F) but if planting it in
an area where frosts are likely, growing in a pot so it can be sheltered
in winter is recommended.
As already noted, Hibiscus arnottianus occurs in well drained
soils. References relating to cul-tivation indicate that it grows best
in rich sandy soil (P3) or an organically rich, well drained soil (W8)
(Upper right photo: Richard Johnson © 2002).
Although it will ultimately become a small to medium size tree, it is
a slow grower and will remain a shrub for many years (W3). It is long-lived,
hardy and resistant to root-rot and borer (P3).
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Although occurring naturally where there are moist well-drained soils,
Hibiscus arnottianus will tolerate dry con-ditions (W10). Its
water requirements are described as moderate (W3) although liberal water
and fertiliser should be ap-plied during the flowering season, which
is summer and autumn (P3).
Hibiscus arnottianus may be used as a single specimen plant,
in groups for mass plantings, or as a screen or hedge plant. Its medium-textured
foliage and flowers make it attractive for landscape uses (W10). It
can also be planted as an accent in front of dark backgrounds such as
a rock wall to show off its beautiful white flowers (W8). It can be
grown as a large container plant (W10). When grown in a container, it
can be positioned to enjoy the fragrance (Upper left
photo, in Tahiti: Richard Johnson © 2002.
The two-day blooms are produced freely on short spurs from older wood
and so it is best left unpruned. However, a severe pruning, about halfway,
in spring every four to five years is recommended to keep the plant
healthy and in a good shape (P3).
It has no significant insect pests or diseases although Chinese rose
beetles and white flies may cause minor damage (W3). There may also
be some problems with thrips, and aphids. Stink bugs may cause bud drop
(W10). In the sub-tropical areas of Australia, scale and mealy bug may
be a pest.
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No special care is required (W10). (Right
Photo: Close-up of staminal column of H. arnottianus - Geoff Keena © 2002).
Rooting terminal cuttings is recommended (W3) although either terminal
or stem cuttings can be rooted with rooting hormones under mist (W10). Hardwood
cuttings, pencil thickness, devoid of leaves, 12 - 16 cm (5 - 6 inches) long,
taken in spring and placed in coarse river sand and peat, strike readily (P3).
As the plant sets seed readily, it may be grown from seed sown in the spring
(P3). However, seedlings may not be true to type (W10). Seedlings are slow-growing
Hibiscus arnottianus also can be propagated by air-layering
or grafting onto other Hibiscus species (W3; W10).
was noted in the introduction, there was an article on hybridising hibiscus in
the first issue of Hibiscus International. The author wrote that although hibiscus
hybridising was tried at earlier times and in other places, Hawai'i was in fact
the place where any large scale hybridizing took place, and the first recording
of this was in the mid 1800s. She continued that large scale interest took off
around the turn of the century, and by 1911 there was a Hawaiian Hibiscus Society,
with several thousand hybrids displayed at the first show. Native Hawaiian hibiscus
such as H. kokio (koki'o 'ula'ula) and several varieties of native Hawaiian
whites (Koki'o ke'oke'o) were often used as parents, crossing with plants introduced
from other places (W5).
variants of Hibiscus arnottianus have been or are in cultivation, and some
have been hybridized with Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (Wilcox & Holt, 1913;
Bates, 1965 in W9).
3, Number 4
reason the native Hawaiian white hibiscus could be used in hybridising is that
Hibiscus arnottianus is one of the species which is genetically compatible
with Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (P4).
Not only is Hibiscus arnottianus compatible
in crossing with Hibiscus rosa-sinensis to produce horticultural
cultivars, but it can also be used as an understock when grafting
the hybrids. As a rootstock it is long-lived, hardy and resistant
to root-rot and borer (P3).
In relation to the varieties of native Hawaiian white
hibiscus, hybridising records can be confusing. Early records may have used common
names, e.g. 'Ornamental Hibiscus in Hawaii' of 1913, (W11). This reference states
that Hibiscus arnottianus is a native white species which occurs under
several quite distinct forms, at least from the horticulturists standpoint. These
forms are commonly called Tantalus White, Waianae White, Punaluu White and Nuua-nu
The text notes that Hibiscus
waimeae*(W11) is also a native species with pure white flowers, and occurs
under at least three forms, referred to as Knudsen White, Rice White and Lydgate
White. It continues that Molokai White is apparently an undescribed species. There
is also a description of a cross between Knudsen White and Punaluu White, that
is, is a cross between Hibiscus waimeae and Hibiscus arnottianus.
Crosses between the two native white species are a further complication.
Another source of confusion, such as in the International
HIBISCUS rosa-sinensis Register and Checklist (W12), arises from the fact
that not only might common names, rather than botanical names have been used in
the records, but subspecies may not be shown. Common names include Punaluu White,
Nuuanu White and Tantalus White. Botanical names are given as Hibiscus arnottianus,
Hibiscus immaculatus and Hibiscus punaluuensis.
In the Hibiscus Register (W12), common names given in
the records include Tantalus White (Albo Lacinatus), Punaluu White (Ross Estey),
Waianae White (Annie Hobron). Botanical names include Hibiscus arnottianus
(Agnes Galt), Hibiscus immaculatus (Mrs James E. Hendry) and Hibiscus
punaluuen-sis (numbered seedling).
3, Number 4
in the Bulletin (W11) and in the Hibiscus Register (W12) where Hibiscus arnottianus
was a parent, indicate that seedlings range in colour from nearly white, to pale
pink, light crimson pink, to pink suffused with apricot to yellow.
arnottianus has a number of features of interest to hybridisers.
Firstly, it sets seed readily (P3). It is interesting that most of the
crosses shown in the Hibiscus Register list Hibiscus arnottianus
as the pod parent (W12). The exception to this is Punaluu White which
is shown as the pollen parent of five crosses, including Ross Estey
(W12). Secondly, the blooms last two days. The third feature is that
the flowers have an exquisite fragrance (P3). This characteristic is
pos-sibly of most interest to current hybridizing prog-rammes.
of the people involved in using Hibiscus arnottianus in a planned hybridizing
programme is Brian Kerr who lives in southeast Queensland, Australia. The gardening
conditions where Brian lives are described as sub-tropical.
3, Number 4
arnottianus is described as having flowers which are weakly fragrant (W9)
whereas the flowers of Hibiscus waimeae are described as strongly fragrant (W9).
Hibiscus waimeae can be divided into 2 subspecies: subsp. hannerae
and subsp. waimeae (W9).
have most interest in Hibiscus waimeae, especially Hibiscus waimeae
subsp. hannerae as I have read about the 'pervading odour' of Hibiscus
waimeae. For now I will work with Hibiscus arnotiannus.
I agree that there is much confusion. What
is a true Hibiscus arnotiannus? What we have in southeast Queensland as
Hibiscus arnotiannus may be a hybrid between some of the native Hawaian
types. Hibiscus arnottianus as I know it just does not match with the descriptions
I have read of this species or its subspecies.
experiences so far are that Hibiscus arnottianus (hereinafter referred
to as "A") is well suited to growing in full sun, enjoys a yearly prune and will
remain a dense shrub with this treatment. Its growth speed is quite good. For
grafting purposes, it can be used as understock and itself has taken on Albo Lacinatus
(hereinafter referred to as "AL"), Landersii and some of my discarded seedlings.
Cuttings will root easily, but are slow to get going at my place.
The blooming capacity of Hibiscus arnottianus
is amazing, with hundreds of blooms on a 1.5m bush. It does not seem to need a
great deal of attention and can grow well in a variety of soils, the best results
coming from sandy soils, high in mineral matter. Blooms last one day only in hot
weather and two days in the cooler weather. The hibiscus beetle loves this white-coloured
bloom of course. It is not resistant to Erinose mite.
3, Number 4
arnottianus does not self seed readily under Sunshine Coast conditions, though
I do get the occasional small pod resulting in one or two seeds only. It will
set seed readily when hand pollinated and produces large, full pods averaging
perhaps a dozen seeds. The highest number of seeds were achieved when using Hibiscus
schizopetalus (hereinafter referred to as "S").
I have used Hibiscus
arnottianus with a variety of today's coloured blooms to give myself a varied
base of colours to use in future breeding. The main aim here is to put the blooming
capacity and self rooting ability of Hibiscus arnottianus into new cultivars
resulting from this cross. I think it is a good idea to cross back to older varieties
every few generations.
My interest in inter-crossing the older varieties
and species started as one of general interest, but is now a search for knowledge,
a search to try and find, prove and confirm the parentage of some of the older
varieties and to produce a frilly edged, mini white. Perfume would be a bonus.
Also, by back-crossing with modern day blooms in a variety of colours and then
inter-crossing these, to try and produce some frilly edged, yellows, purples,
browns and multi-colours on attractive, perhaps caney, bushes. Hibiscus arnottianus
does fit in to this programme with its contribution as the best bloomer, white
colour and perfumed background. As far as perfume is concerned, I cannot detect
much odour from Hibiscus arnottianus. The only perfumed hibiscus at my
place is my Hibiscus arnottianus (A) X Albo Lacinatus (AL) seedling.
following are the crosses so far using the following pollen parents:
1. A x (Purple Robe
x Hibiscus schizopetalus)
2. A x (Shirley Howie x Alex Pimm
3. A x (Shirley Howie x Alex Pimm -2)
4. A x Leopard
3, Number 4
A (x) AL: has produced very tall A look-a-likes in
all but one. This was the slightly, frilly-edged mini with a flowery perfume that
I posted to the IHS List.
H. arnottianus (x)
Albo Lacinatus Brian
Kerr © 2003
A (x) S: with all
blooms being near exact replicas of AL in habit and bloom colour. The
most interesting of these is one with speckles evident, like you see
in Patricia Noble (Sport of Ross Estey - this having A in its background).
These speckles are not unlike Ali Uii speckles in some way, though not
as 'standoutish' as they are on a pale bloom and not as wide-spread.
Leaf colour, shape and bush habit is noticeably different to me, but
not to other observers. It appears that these speckles do not come through
3, Number 4
A (x) Cuban Variety (CV): A deliberate cross to try
to produce the ultimate bloomer in any colour that resulted, with maybe perfume
as an afterthought; also to get a compact bush, as both produce compact bushes
in my crosses so far.
(x) (Cuban Variety x Albo Lacinatus) (CVAL-1): A deliberate cross to try
and resurface the blooming capacity of A and the amazing blooming capacity of
CV in any colour that resulted, with maybe perfume as an afterthought; also to
get a compact bush. The result of this cross will be put to A (x) AL above, the
white, mini, slightly perfumed, fringed single.
(x) Herm Geller (HG): A x HG has not bloomed, but the bush needs
men-tioning as it is so well formed. However, the leaf seems to suffer
from a brown fungal type infection in winter on the top of the leaf.
Initially the marks look appealing, but eventually the leaf dries and
falls off, leaving a stark, unattractive bush.
10. A (x) Nasali
Pink (NP): crossed these as NP (Right photo:
Jim Purdie © 2002) is a great bloomer - to produce one with excellent
blooming capacity and to get a compact bush., as both produce compact
bushes in my crosses so far.
3, Number 4
All others are progressing in varying ways and if they survive the red
spider and cold and wet (and a batch of bad, heavy potting mix), will
hopefully bloom in the next year.
Harvey has noted (personal communication) that outside Hawaii, Hibiscus
arnottianus was hardly ever known by its species name. Hibiscus arnottianus
has been and is still known as 'Wilder's White' in Australia (P3). 'Lillian
Wilder', which is shown as having 'Knudsen White' as its pod parent and
H. waimeae as its pod grandparent, has been incorrectly known as 'Apple
Blossom' in Australia (W12).
1. Sohmer, S.H. and Gustafson, R.
(1987, 2000) Plants and Flowers of Hawai'i, University
of Hawaii Press, Hawaii.
2. Howie, J. (1980) Hibiscus Queen of the flowers.
First Edition, Prestige Litho Printing Co., Australia.
3. Beers, L. and Howie, J. (1985) Growing Hibiscus, Kangaroo Press Australia.
4. Gast, R. Chapter 2 in The Genetic History of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis in
L. and Howie, J. (1985) Growing Hibiscus,
Kangaroo Press Australia.
Links - as of 30 June 2003)
12. International HIBISCUS rosa-sinensis Register
and Checklist, 2002 (CD) ICRA (Hibiscus) Register/ChecklistWeb: http://www.geocities.com/auhibsoc/ira/register.htm
3, Number 4
Although the text uses the spelling H. weimeae, this spelling is not included
in the International Plant Names Index http://www.ipni.org
and so the spelling which is in the Index has been used.
authors wish to thank Brian Kerr for his assistance with this article.
Thanks also to Chris Noble for his help.
The next Hisbiscus International
No. 17 promises to be an even more colorful and balanced issue. Geoff Harveys
article on Hibiscus Hybridization continues with Part 3 Applied Genetics, which
presents interesting observations on breeding by mass selection; line breeding;
mutations; and, selecting compatible varieties for hybridizing, among others.
Gloria White has compiled another very nice piece on Ed and Jane Flory from Florida,USA
H.I.17 also introduces a new section called From The Archives, which is a selection
of articles written in the past by some well-known luminaries in the World of
Hibiscus. As with the previous issue of H.I., we have another interesting I.M.H.O.
feature written by Allan Little from Glasshouse
on the topic of hybridizing. Allan shares his experiences and observations,
this coming from a man recently judged as the Hybridizer of the Year in Australia.
There are also other articles of
interest that will be covered in this next issue for our growing number of members.
We are also proud to present an excellent compilation of some hibiscus cultivars
from Europe in the Photo Gallery Section of H.I.17 thanks largely to the efforts
of Madame Francoise Levavasseur of Southern France who provided most of the photos
(From The Editor).
Board of Directors
President: Jim Purdie Brisbane
Past President: Richard Johnson Tamanu, Tahiti,
Vice-President: Carlos C. Quirino, Jr. Metro Manila,
Secretary/Treasurer: Richard Mansbridge Australia
American Rep: Robert Cook Kansas,
Australian Rep: Graham Boytell Brisbane
European Rep: Jean-Francois Giraud Isere
Asian Rep: Carlos C. Quirino Jr.
Rep: Francy Kakkassery Kerala, India
Pacific Rep: Richard Johnson
Rights Reserved © 2003
for use in this publication should be submitted by e-mail
to the Editor at: firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2002 International Hibiscus