The President's Desk
first three months of 2004 have been a very busy period for your Board Members
and Webmaster. A number of programs were set in place many of which were or are
now being pursued simultaneously. In December of 2003, I instituted a call to
review IHS' Statutes and created a committee - the IHS Statutes Committee, consisting
of Graham Boytell (Chairman), Dick Johnson, Robert Cook, Wayne Hall and Constantino
Garcia Dominguez, to study the current environment as it relates to our charter
and determine which areas need updating and or amendment.
Statute Amendments And Poll
and Constantino were drafted by your Board as members of this committee to represent
the general membership. Wayne has since taken over the duties and functions of
Richard Mansbridge as Secretary-Treasurer as Richard voluntarily retired for health
reasons. The results of this Committee’s work were submitted to the Board as a
list of recommendations in the form of additions and/or alterations to the existing
Statutes. A copy of the amended Statutes is attached as a separate attachment
being part of this issue of Hibis-cus International No.19 in keeping with the
current Statutes under:
bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of members voting, a minimum of thirty
(30) days previous notice having been given. Publication of proposed amend-ments
in the next issue of Hibiscus International will normally suffice for such notice.
of this writing, a polling facility has been established in IHS’ website for the
purpose of allowing all our members to vote for or against ratification of the
amended IHS Statutes. I therefore encourage all our members to exercise their
power of the vote by actively participating in this poll which will be open for
a 30-day period after which the results will be announced by the Board on IHS’
Photo Contest (TPC-2004-1)
TPC-2004-1 was concluded in February 11, 2004. As Moderator of IHS’ TPC Program,
Jim Purdie announced the results, as follows:
top three (3) places in the Seedlings and Miniature Seedlings Categories in the
TPC 2004-1 will go into the final vote after the 3 TPC Competitions at the end
of the year.
top 3 places in the Seedlings category are as follows:
Place: Misfire (x) Smokey Mountain first with 10 votes, entered by Alan
& Elaine Little (Left photo below).
Place: Tahitian Cherry Blossom 2nd with 7 votes,
entered by Richard Johnson (Right photo above).
was a tie for Third Place: Tahitian Strawberry Moon
(Lower left photo) with 4 votes, entered
by Richard Johnson and Tahitian Sunburst (Lower
right photo) with 4 votes, also entered by Richard Johnson.
top 3 places in the Miniature Seedlings category are as follows:
Tamurae (Upper left photo) first with 6
points, entered by Richard Johnson. Bob's Red Ribbon (x) Kelly Dianne (Upper
right photo) second with 5 points, entered by Bob Carran.
was a 4-way tie for third place:
below, from left to right) Bob's Red Ribbon (x) Scarletia
cross with 4 points, entered by Bob Carran; Fang (x) Rumplestiltskin with 4 points,
entered by Allan & Elaine Little; Tylene (x) Janys with 4 points, entered by Richard
Johnson; and, Flying Tiger with 4 points, entered by Gloria White.
On IHS Website Migration To Dr2.net
The following is a report/update submitted by our Webmaster)
of new additions and features recently incorporated into IHS' website we have
found ourselves running out of space with our current web host service provider
- Hypermart.net. Hypermart.net charged IHS US$ 215.52 for 12-months but provided
only 150mb of web space. This is not enough space to accommodate the growing needs
of our website.
a long search for a new web host provider I eventually found "dr2.net" and proposed
to the Board to migrate our website from Hyper-mart.net to this new web host provider.
After period of evaluation, the Board decided to give it a try. Dr2.net also provides
additional programming support which Hypermart.net does not have in its package
such as: MYSQL, Cpanel, and more. Additionally, in order to upgrade to 200mb of
web space using Hypermart.net we would have to pay an additional US$ 108.00. On
the other hand, Dr2.net as a web host provider, offers more value for our money.
We are getting 300mb of space plus all supports (PHP, MYSQL, Cpanel and a series
of scripts) all for only US$ 80.00 a year!.
Hall, our new Secretary-Treasurer arranged the subscription payment to dr2.net
and the minute he gave me the access info to the new site, I uploaded all the
files consisting of around 160mb from Hypermart.net to dr2.net's site. This tied
up use of my computer for over 24 hours using only a 56kb modem. A big headache
just waiting for files to load up but it got done in any case.
all files were transferred to the new site, I commenced to make some major improvements
thereafter. First was the auction script. In the past, we encountered a few minor
problems using the old script to get it running right so it needed to be improved.
I installed a new script spending several hours debugging it. But after many trials
and errors, I had it finally running the way it should. The result is that we
now have a new auction section with a much more professional look:
new Auction Page URLis:
second improvement was made on the Genealogy Tree which is located in IHS' The
Global Hibiscus Library (TGHL). On that particular section of our website you
can click on an image and automatically get detailed information on a cultivar's
parents, grandparents, great grand-parents and great- great- grand-parents. The
same was done for the search engine. You can now find all these new features using
the following URL's:
in the same location as TGHL a script was written for the Rosa-Sinensis Multiple
CV's Page. It now illustrates nine (9) CV's per webpage. This improvement over
the old automatically places existing and new CV's in alphabetical order. This
was done to eliminate endless hours wasted shuffling back and forth just to replace
a few new entries that are ordered alphabetically. Also the new script adds detailed
information sourced from a searchable database. In both cases, the jpeg's and
database files are taken from one common folder. You can now view this new format
Multiple CV's Page URL:
slideshow was also added in THGL. It now includes the option to view "all" slides
(over 2,350 jpeg's as of date) or view individual jpegs alphabetically. Even more,
you can now select from three (3) viewing speeds (slow, medium, fast) or, just
view it manually by using the usual forward and backward buttons.
slideshow's URL is:
new updates and additions have been made to the IHS eCard Center. It now has a
wide collection of new eCards to choose from even with an option to upload your
own or, have it permanently placed by using the "email with attachment" function.
eCard Center URL is:
guestbook was also added. Any site visitor or member can leave a message and upload
their favourite bloom.
Guestbook URL is:
will also notice that I added a banner on the Home page that offer links to several
articles and various other web pages.
Regards to all.
Day Auction 2004
following were the winning bidders (seed list only) in IHS's recent Valentine's
Day Auction 2004:
Plant Nutrition For A Happy Hibiscus Plant
Summer approaches in most parts of the world and as the weather warms up in the
next few months most hibiscus hybridizers and enthusiasts take the opportunity
to re-invigorate their hibiscus plants with some major pruning. Pruning is a signal
to a plant that it is time to start new growth if it wants to continue thriving
into the next season. But it helps to aid the plant in this natural process by
pro-viding proper amount of light water and nutrients in order to do so. Here
are some valuable insights for rearing a happy hi-biscus plant.
are sixteen (16) essen-tial elements which, when com-bined in appropriately ab-solute
ratios, are what a plant needs exactly to stay healthy and produce vigorous growth,
well-formed flowers and seedpods. These elements are grouped according to their
first or Base Group consists of: Carbon [C]; Hydrogen [H]; Oxygen [O]; and, Chlorine
[Cl]. All these four inorganic elements are found naturally in water and also
in the air we breathe, free of charge.
next group of elements, the Primary, consists of Nitrogen [N], Phos-phorous [P]
and Potassium [K]. Nitrogen is the element responsible for inducing new vegetative
growth in a plant but must be used in the form of nitrate in order for a plant
to successfully convert it to amino acids. Phos-phorous is needed for root formation
and development and also is the element which determines the overall robustness
or strength of a plant. Potassium induces the production of flowers and fruit
(seedpod) production. The relative strengths of each in a feeding formulation
all depend on the plant's cycle. Percentage-wise, [N] is increased when new growth
is promoted such as after pruning. [P] is highlighted when new growth has peaked
and you need to strengthen the mass and hardiness of the plant. [K] is accentuated
right before hybridizing season which is usually during the cooler months of the
year (Spring and Fall) in the northern and southern latitudes and November to
mid-March in geographical regions situated between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
third group, the Secondary Elements, are known as "converters". These three
elements combined are needed to convert an N-P-K feeding mix into food which the
plant can readily absorb and use in accordance with the specific functions which
each element in the Primary Group is known for. The Secondary Elements are: Magnesium
[Mg]; Calcium [Ca]; and, Sulfur [S]. A lack or absence of Secondary Elements in
soil results in failure to convert N-P-K in efficient forms used by a plant.
fourth and last group are all Micronutrients and are known together as "activators".
Activators are needed by the converting elements - Magnesium, Calcium and Sulfur
to begin the conversion of N-P-K into food acids and sugars and happens in conjunction
with the application of water which starts the chemical reaction. Of course, the
right amount of sunshine is needed in the process of synthesizing (i.e., photosynthesis)
all these essential elements into something the plant needs or can use. As in
humans, a proper diet is im-portant to ensure a long and productive life in hibiscus
C. Quirino, Jr.
| || |
are a lot of new things in the works since I assumed the duties of Secretary-Treasurer
from Richard Mansbridge last month. I would like to personally thank Richard for
all his past help as IHS Secretary and Treasurer and in making this transition
as smooth as possible.
Thank you Richard Mansbridge from all of us. The IHS Statutes Committee is winding
down the work it began several months ago and should soon be posted for the IHS
members. Our Webmaster, Joseph Dimino, has been working very hard on the new website
that should be available very soon, once all the "bugs" are taken care of. Several
new features have been added and we are really looking forward to its release.
Joseph spent more than two days transferring data to the new site and working
out the bugs. A test run has been published and Joseph is asking for member feedback
so these items can be incorporated into the new website.
The sooner our Webmaster gets the feedback or suggestions the sooner
we can make the new site permanent. If you haven't looked at the test site please
do so. I think you will find it quite informative. Joseph deserves our thanks
and recognition for his untiring efforts that made the IHS Web Site what it is
The Valentine's Month auction, which ended February 28th, netted US$
308.85 for seeds and Black Pearl items. The IHS PayPal account now stands at US$
1,406.95. We wish to thank all who participated and helped make the auction a
Wayne C. Hall
the time to pollinate will vary in different localities. In Madang, Papua New
Guinea only 5 degrees south of the equator, pollinating was very successful on
common cultivars towards the end of the wet monsoon period. The mornings were
hot (more than 30 degrees Celsius), humid and often overcast with rain during
the afternoon and night. Tropical Queensland would probably be similar, with a
good pollination period probably extending into the cooler autumn and winter.
The best months for successful pollination and seed production in
South East Queensland is April, May and also October-November. Days with high
humidity and cloud cover are best. A success rate for the two spring and autumn
periods should give a pollination success rate of 20%. A higher figure could be
expected from 'hot' pollen producers and proven seed setters.
January-February 2001 was hot and dry in South East Queensland. With
abnormal yellowing of leaves, considerable bud drop and few blooms. This applies
to the hybrid Hibiscus that have been subjected to some climatic stress, whereas
the hardy landscaping varieties thrive. I decided to start to start hybridizing
at the beginning of January onwards due to impatience and the challenge to see
if seed could be obtained during this less favorable pollinating period. The January
rainfall was only 61mm, whereas the average is 142mm. The pollination success
rate using crosses not known to be previously recorded was approximately 12%.
Successful crosses included:
crosses included Candy, Kim Ellen and June's Joy as female parents crossed with
Hot Mustard. All produced a percentage of good capsules which aborted after 3
weeks - during abnormal hot weather coinciding with an application of fertilizer.
first three capsules from Morning Glory (x) Hot Mustard matured in 28 days (1
capsule) and 30 days (2 capsules). This is abnormally quick for S.E. Qld., although
maturity time in the tropics is about 30 to 35 days. The capsules began to split
open when at the yellow stage and one was still green but fully opened during
the course of that one hot day.
maturity time for capsules is 40 to 90 days or more, especially the April-May
pollinations that may mature as late as August. It is probably a survival strategy of the
plant to retain the capsules until favorable germinating conditions arrive in
the spring. Sometimes the base of the style can rot leaving a pin hole into the
tip of long term capsules. When this happens seed may rot or germinate in the
capsule or small insects may gain entry. The breeder could consider harvesting
the long term green capsules to save the seed.
Glory is an unusual Hibiscus bloom in that the style remains attached to the capsule
after the bloom has withered and fallen away. It may turn green and remain attached
to the capsule during its development. Also, the stigma pads in the upright tubular
buds are quite visible and accessible one full day before opening. Using a fine
artists' brush it is possible to pollinate this variety on the day before opening.
was intended to use Pink Radiance as a pollen parent due to its good attributes
and abundance of pollen which was dehiscing by 7:30 AM in late February. At this
time it was noted that superfine silk-like threads come away from the antlers
when picking up pollen with a fine brush. The pollen had germinated prior to dehiscing
and the bare visible threads were in fact the pollen tubes. Some were 3 cm long
at this time indicating just how quickly a grain of pollen could grow down the
style to effect fertilization.
Reproduction - Flower Production: In order to
survive in the wild Hibiscus have had to reproduce sexually. Sexual reproduction
results in seeds, which carry genetic traits into the next generation. Variations
come about through the different recombinations of chromosomes and genes during
the union of gametes. This occurs when the zygote is formed. These variations,
no matter how slight, may adapt a species to conditions in a changing environment.
Therefore, we will note the variations of Hibiscus in different localities throughout
Flowers are specialized for the single purpose of sexual reproduction starting
the development that leads to the formation of fruit and seed. Hibiscus flowers
are usually large and colorful, but the petals that we admire are not essential
parts of the flower. Flowers grow
from the flower stalk or pedicel and are sup-ported by the recap-tacle. The outer
ring of floral parts are known as the calyx, which protects the rest of the flower
in the bud stage and eventually the ova-ry should it develop into a seed-bearing
capsule. Inside the ca-lyx, the bud is made up of the corolla con-sisting of 5
petals in a single bloom. In the center of the bloom there are usually two kinds
of essential parts directly involved with reproduction. The male part is the stamen
made up of the fila-ment with a knobby sac at the end called an anther. The female
parts are collectively known as the pistil consisting of 5 stigma pads, the style
and ovary. In Hibiscus, the ovules are attached to an axis running through the
center of the ovary. (Upper diagram: Parts of a
Hibiscus Bloom, Geoff Harvey © 2001.)
writers consider that the pollen grain germinates on the sticky stigma surface
and that the stigma pads may only remain receptive for a limited period depending
upon weather conditions. I have looked at the style under magnification and noted
that it is hollow therefore the pollen grain grows through the stigma pad and
down through the hollow to reach an ovule within the ovary.
has been reported that some success at increasing the frequency of successful
crosses has been attributed to applying various sugar solutions to the stigma
surface prior to pollination. The object was to increase the nutrients available
to the pollen grain and thus enhance its growth down the style in order to reach
the ovules. This was tried at the rate of 10% in an atomizer prior to and after
pollination. No increase in seed set was noted, but the sugar attracted unwanted
ants and other insects. A change was made to a weak solution of foliar fertilizer
plus a wetting agent and so far a positive result is apparent. When more plants
and blooms are available an accurate measurement will be made. The sugar should
work as it has been trialed successfully. The wetting agent is perhaps preventing
the stigma pad from drying out due to sun and wind. Move pots into shady protected
localities. And lightly sprinkle if temperature is rising. Blooms on plants in
the ground may be tied down to shade them from the sun. Once again use the sprinkler
if the morning is hot and dry.
Formation: Development Of A Pollen Grain Within The Pollen
Sac Of An Anther - A
cross section of the developing anther displays four chambers.
These chambers are called pollen sacs (see upper left
illustration). Each pollen sac is filled with cells containing
large nuclei. As the anther grows, each of these cells
goes through two meiotic divisions, forming a four-celled
tetrad. These cells are called microspores. Each one of
these microspores eventually becomes a pollen grain. First,
each nucleus divides by mitosis to become two nuclei.
One is the tube nucleus. The other is a generative nucleus.
The wall of the cell thickens to protect the developing
pollen grain. As the anther ripens, the wall between the
paired pollen sacs disappear. The pollen sacs burst open
and the mature pollen grains are ready for dispersal.
Formation: Development Of An Ovule Within The Ovary At
The Base Of The Pistil - While pollen grains are forming
in the anthers, there are also changes in the ovary. An
ovule starts as a tiny knob on the ovary wall. Each knob
contains one cell. The ovule grows away from the wall
on the end of a short stalk through which it is nourished.
It is completely enclosed except for a tiny pore called
a micropyle. The single ovule cell now goes through two
meiotic divisions, resulting in four megaspores. One of
these survives. This megaspore get larger and turns into
an oval embryo sac ( see upper right illustration). More
cell division occurs and a polar nucleus is formed in
a cell in the center of the embryo sac. This sac goes
on developing until it is ready for fertilization. In
order for fertilization to take place, a pollen grain
must get to a stigma pad of the pistil - pollination.
is the transfer of pollen from an anther to a stigma. In nature this happens frequently
with species Hibiscus, either from the same flower - self-pollination or with
two separate plants involved - cross-pollination. The Hibiscus flower beetle, Macroura
concolor (Macleary), is definitely an agent in pollination. Australian native
hibiscus seem to have an active nectary at the base of the petals and all sorts
of insects such as flies and moths are attracted to the blooms, usually in large
numbers. Some of our Hibiscus rosa-sinensis cultivars such as Full Moon, Kona
and Bruceii are slightly perfumed as well as the cross compatible Hawaiian species
e.g., Hibiscus arnottianus. Ants are often attracted to Hibiscus stigma
pads and in so doing have to pass through the pollen to reach their destination.
The H. rosa-sinensis variety, Ruby Rose (left photo: Carlos
C. Quirino, Jr. © 2002), sheds pollen in profusion and this could conceivably
be transported by the agency of wind or water. The main strategy employed by Hibiscus
is to attract people as pollen dusters/hybridizing agents, thus ensuring their
survival in many localities around the world and access to a large gene pool.
normal plant breeding procedure the antlers on the capsule parent would be emasculated
with a small pair of scissors to prevent any chance of self-pollination. The petals
would be trimmed back and a small plastic cellophane or paper bag fastened over
the bloom. This may hold the humidity in and protect from direct sunlight thus
preventing the stigma pads from drying out. The main reason though is to eliminate
the possibility of foreign pollen reaching the stigmas whilst they are still in
the receptive stage.
of the developing 'capsule' can be a major problem as mentioned earlier. A smear
of 3% indolebutyric acid (IBA) mixed with lanolin or petroleum jelly in
equal proportions can be applied to the abscission layer prior to or at the time
of pollination. IBA is the normal rooting hormone that we use for Hibiscus cuttings.
This certainly does work and will prevent the capsule from dropping. Of course
it does not increase fertilization or set seed.
What happens after a pollen grain lands on the surface of the pistil's stigma
pads ? First, a chemical from the pistil induces the pollen grain to form a pollen
tube that grows into a stigma surface. As the tube gets longer it will grow downwards
through the stigma tube within the hollow style. Finally, it reaches the microplye
of the ovule a good 5 cm or more from the stigma. If there is insufficient nutrient
on the stigma pad the single cell pollen grain may not grow the necessary distance
to deliver its sperm nuclei to the ovary. Should the ovary be reached, the generative
nucleus moves through the pollen tube. As it does so, it divides and forms two
sperm nuclei, or male gametes/ After the pollen tube passes through the micropyle,
it digests the part of the embryo sac's thin wall. The tip of the tube breaks
open and the two sperms are released into the embryo sac. At this time, the tube
of the two sperms unite with the egg in fertilization. This produces the fertilized
egg cell called a zygote. The other sperm nucleus unites with the nuclei in the
embryo sac to form the endosperm nucleus (see diagram above). At this point, aucins
from the pollen grain stimulate cells within the ovule to divide. The zygote develops
into an embryo plant. The endosperm nucleus grows into the seed endosperm which
contains food for the embryo plant. (Top diagram: Geoff Harvey © 2001)
If a treated capsule shrivels whilst remaining on the bush we will know that fertilization
was unsuccessful. A ripening capsule should be watched to prevent insect damage
and accidental loss. It may be necessary to trim the calyx if aphids appear and
to get better insecticide coverage.
Normally, the wanted male and female blooms would need to open on the same day.
Pollen can be placed on the female stigma pads one day in advance of opening if
the buds are trimmed or forced open. Pollen can be kept for use on the day after
dehiscing if kept in a cool dry low light place. According to American hybridizers
pollen in a sealed container has been kept refrigerated and used successfully
after several days.
The origin of H. rosa-sinensis is undoubtedly tropical, be
it the Malabar Coast of India about 10 to 12 degrees north or Cochin-China 10
to 15 degrees north. H. schizopetalus and H. acetosella (left
photo below) come the from tropical east coast of Africa. It is these
species, forms and hybrids that flourish throughout the tropics notably Fiji 15
to 20 degrees south, where some species may have developed. The Hawaiian species
e.g. H. arnottianus below have contributed considerably to our many horticultural
In Hawaii they are found in their natural habitat at some altitude in cool environments,
20 to 25 degrees north. Hibiscus arnottianus (right
photo inset, below) grows to perfection in Sydney and Perth climatic conditions
at 34 degrees south and tend to struggle in Brisbane at 27 degrees south. The
Mauritius and Madagascar species e.g. H. lilliflorus come from 20 degrees
south and also share in the makeup of our modern hybrids. Coastal Sydney grows
hybrid Hibiscus very well at 34 degrees south. The leading Hibiscus authority,
Mr. Les Beers, considers our modern hybrids to be better suited to the cooler
climates rather than the tropics.
In March of 2001 the following hibiscus cultivars were noted at Narrubri in New
South Wales which is 30 degrees
south and well inland on the western plains of Australia: Ruby
Rose, Cuban Variety (right photo inset, below)
Queen and an unidentified double red, They were all large specimens obviously
several years old and full of bloom.
the long hot summer periods on the Sunshine Coast (100 kilometers north of Brisbane),
the strong H. rosa-sinensis forms and H. schizopetalus influence
outperforms the hybrids. The hybrids come into their own after the heat of summer.
The hybridizing implications are the need to develop Hibiscus for our particular
locality. For example, in Cairns at 17 degrees south we would look at different
parentage than in Sydney at 34 degrees south. The most outstanding Hibiscus garden
that I have observed was a few hundred meters from the sea at Marcoola on the
Sunshine Coast. This was Allan McMullen's garden where perhaps the cooling breeze
and nutrients from the sea were beneficial to the Hibiscus.
Be Continued In Hibiscus International No. 20:
6 - The Mechanics of Hybridizing]
a year and a half ago, I attended the Sunrise Chapter of the Ameri-can Hibiscus
Society show held at the Mounts Botanical Gardens located in West Palm Beach,
Florida. At the time,
I was whisked away by Wally Neef and seated with Will Gaudet to clerk for the
judges at a table. There
were many people working to make the show a success. And succeed, they did. I was shown by Bonnie
Orpi from my Chapter, who Gary and Donna Schnei-der were. Names I had heard, but
I had never met the couple. It would be almost two years before I got the chance
I attended the 2002 National American Hibiscus Society with several goals in mind.
One being, that I would meet the Schneiders. I took the opportunity, by introducing
myself to them and asking for an interview. My interview would have to wait for
them to pick up a shipment of orchids from World of Orchids in Orlando (Upper
left photo: Gary Schneider (left) with Dick Johnson).
Gary and Donna Schneider got started in hibiscus when they drove down Highway
41 in Punta Gorda, Florida for a show. At this show, they met Harry Goulding and
they saw the flowers that were being grown, the Schneiders made a wish list of
what they wanted. The hybridizers did not have any available so they bought two
garden varieties instead. The first hybrid hibiscus they bought was Big Apple.
The Schneiders joined the Harry Goulding Chapter of the American Hibiscus Society
in 1983. Shortly after, they started assembling their collection of hybrids and
exhibiting their blooms. Gary and Donna married in 1985. They met on a blind date
and the rest is now history. In 1994, they went commercial and now grow 700 varieties.
If you ask Gary what his favorite flower is, he will reply that he "likes them
all". In the past, they have lost many plants due to irrigation problems but they
finally have this problem under control.
couple started hybridizing in 1996 and soon with a "field of seedlings" with the
help of Harry Goulding and Carl Powell, who told them which plants set seeds.
Some of their named varieties are Melon Ball (which placed 4th in the 2002 HOTY
competition), Volcano (their first attempt), Lovely Lil, Hot Lil, Mango Madness,
Crantastic, Xena, Swan Dance, Thida, Calypso Rhythm, Rose Maui, Peek-A-Boo, Jessica,
Fido, Surf's Song, Melonmania, and Fluffer Nutter.
Gary has held the position of National Director and Show Director. His original
occupation was historical restoration and custom woodworking. He worked on making
large catamarans but this only side tracked him from his love of the Queen of
the Tropics. The couple lives in Bokeelia, Florida and run Pine Island Tropicals.
high in a magic carpet, the Mysterious Flower Genie rode the heat waves from a
mountain filled with molten lava. Out of the heat and steam far below she spied
something red and yellow glowing at the edge of the crater.
Mysterious Flower Genie flew lower for a closer look and discovered a gem of many
colors that had avoided the heat that seared everything in sight. The lovely gem
was large and beautiful. The Genie plucked it from the edge of doom and brought
it home to live in her Enchanted Garden.
the chronicles of the Mysterious Flower Genie from the peninsula of Flowers -
me begin by first providing my perspective on hybridizing globally and ending
with my specific thoughts.
general, I see two basic hybridizing trends in the world today:One followed by
mass producers of hibiscus and one by smaller operations. For the mass producer
(those operations that produce a half million or more of the same variety) the
expediency of production and the market they address are the determining factors
that guide their hybridizing.
must first and foremost, grow on their own root, a pinch must result in multiple
branches (not just 2 or 3), they must reach blooming size in minimum sized pots
in a minimum amount of time, they must be compact
plants with floriferous upward facing blooms (Left
photo: Arcturus (x) Georgia's Pearl Seedling - Richard Johnson © 2002)
and they must ship well. These hybridizers produce blooms for the spontaneous
market, not necessarily the hibis-cus enthusiasts, and as a consequence are in
competition with petunias, gerberas, chrysanthemums, etc. - essentially all the
market research tells them that the vast majority of buyers want reds (I believe
it is about 60%), yellows are second (I believe about 30%) so that leaves only
10% for diverse. Accordingly, the majority of varieties that go through this selection
process are small flowered, and by the standards of most of the hibiscus society
produced hibiscus enthusiasts, are rather ordinary blooms.
course, to accentuate this goal, such commercial growers almost without exception treat
their plants with growth regula-tors.The rest of the propagators essentially try
to provide the latest and greatest of the show winning blooms aimed at a mixed
market of avid gardeners and hibiscus en-thusiasts (Right
photo: Cheo (x) Lady Adele Seedling - Richard Johnson © 2002).
be competitive they are often more willing to go through extra efforts to produce
such plants, meaning the converse of the above, i.e., plants do not have to be
grown on their own roots and they may even prefer to graft their plants believing
it provides a superior product.
don't mind multiple pinching to produce an acceptable bush and
are less concerned with the time it takes to produce the finished product or the
shipping requirements. They believe that the quality of the product, with emphasize
more on the bloom than the bush - although the later is also very important, will
better meet the demands of their market (Left photo:
Bonnie B (x) Raspberry Swirl Seedling - Richard Johnson © 2002).
will be wholesalers doing part of the above, some will be
finishers growing the wholesale
product to perfection and some will do both. Some hybridize themselves or have
done some hybridizing but they often find the demands of their operations take
precedence. Many are finding that it is good practice to associate with a hybridizer
or several, so that they can offer new and somewhat exclusive offerings to their
clientele. (Left photo: Amy Lynn (x) Janys Seedling
- Richard Johnson © 2002).
the creation of the latest and greatest varieties falls on the non mass oriented
hybridizer many of which are hobbyists.
to a degree the driving force which makes hibiscus more and
more appealing as the public becomes aware of the diversity of the really stupendous
varieties that exist. These people essentially hy-bridize flowers, while the mass
commercial operations basic-ally hybridize bushes Some hy-bridizers satisfy the
needs of both markets providing varie-ties for the mass market producer and spinning
some of the results off to the more specialized hibiscus fancier market. Hence,
as a hybridizer, one has to consider what market they are aiming at, and if there
is no commercial interest, personal preferences become important (Upper
left photo: Critical Mass (x) Coral Passion Seedling - Richard Johnson © 2002.
Upper right photo: Ed Flory (x) Oliver Seedling - Richard Johnson © 2002).
guiding principle of hybridizing in general recommends starting with plants that
have a maximum number of desirable qualities and crossing only those types. This
assures a greater number of progeny with the desired characteristics. Hibiscus
rosa-sinensis does provide a somewhat greater or different challenge in that the
gene pool is so very diverse, that results are much less predictable than is the
case of many plant varieties.
strictly following the above basic principle obviates the great potential of bringing
together the exceptional strong points of otherwise flawed varieties. (Upper
left photo: Fiesta (x) Jazz Seedling - Richard Johnson © 2002. Upper right photo:
Rainbow Christie (x) Jazz Seedling - Richard Johnson © 2002).
Is Continued In Hibiscus International No.19, Part 2)
compiled by Colleen Keena from Queensland, Australia, Kristin Yanker-Hansen from
California, USA and Marcos Capelini from Săo Paulo, Brazil. Mallows refer to members
of the Malvaceae Family. Note: The "W" references in the text refer to material
on the web ("W") listed in the "References" section. The "P" references in the
text refer to print material listed in the "References" section.
INTRODUCTION TO A BIRD-FRIENDLY HIBISCUS GARDEN
would those with a passion for growing hibiscus and hibiscus family plants want
to consider attracting birds to their garden? The answer is sim-ple: birds are
really very efficient aids to natural pest control (P1).
Insects may cause serious damage to garden plants and we are all familiar with
the ravages of aphids, caterpillars and scale. Attracting birds into the garden
may not completely eliminate these pests but will certainly reduce their effect
and allow the gardener to keep spray applications to a minimum. (P2)
In Australia, insects form part of the diet of all native birds (P1) and insects
also form a major part of the diet of many birds and in some species make up their
entire fare. Insectivorous birds generally have small, weak beaks and large gapes
(fleshy corners of the mouth) to enable them to catch insects while in flight
(P3). Birds such as robins, silver-eyes, wrens and a number of other quite common
birds are primarily insect-eaters and feed on a wide variety of garden creatures,
including pests such as aphids and scale (P2).
Birds such as honeyeaters are essentially nectar eaters, however they supplement
their diet with insects, particularly at nesting time when their need for protein
is highest. They
also feed insects to their young to accelerate their growth rate. The
smaller honeyeaters eagerly devour many of the tiny insects within the garden,
while larger honeyeaters prefer to feed on larger creatures such as beetles, moths
birds which are mainly seed eat-ers, such as finches,
enjoy the occasional insect and pardalotes are especially fond of scale insects
(P2). Birds such as butcher-birds, kooka-burras and magpies seek out any grubs,
caterpillars and snails crawling on trees and shrubs or at ground level (P1).
Crested Pigeons eat mostly native seeds, they also eat insects. Because one of
the authors lives in south-east Queensland, this article will focus on birds that
can be found in this author's one acre garden in the Brisbane Valley.
quite different kinds of birds have built nests in Malvaceae plants. A
Honeyeater built its nest in Abutilon auritum, a small dense shrub which flowers
Pigeons built two nests, both in hibiscus plants. One of these nests was built
in the centre of a large plant of Hibiscus 'Archerii'.
other Crested Pigeon nest was constructed in a large Australian native hibiscus
called 'Sunset Glow'.
are the most ubiquitous and most characteristic bird family in Australia and in
almost any garden in Australia,
will be at least one, and possibly as many as a dozen, visiting honeyeaters (P5).
One of the most common in the author's garden is the Noisy Miner which feeds on
nectar, fruits and insects. The honeyeater's nest is a cup woven of long thin
vegetable material such as grass, needle-like leaves and plant stalks and bound
with spider web. The nest is fastened at the rim to the fork of a small branch
(P4). (Right photo: A Noisy Miner, one of the larger
Crested Pigeon was once restricted to drier inland regions
but has now spread to the coast around large population centres. It becomes confident
around human habitation. The nests made by the pigeons are constructed of sticks
and twigs and located in the fork of a branch. Crested Pigeons have been known
to breed continuously for several months, producing up to seven consecutive broods
(P4). (Left photo: Mother and baby Crested
is worth reflecting that were it not for the presence of insects, there would
be fewer birds to cheer your day (P5). "Not only do birds provide an audio and
visual pleasure but their presence helps to control the various insect pests that
inevitably appear in a garden" (P2).
DEVELOPING A BIRD-FRIENDLY HIBISCUS GARDEN
nothing more enjoyable than watching birds feasting on nectar, insects, fruit
and seeds in your garden. Birds can be enticed into your garden by providing the
right conditions and a safe environment (W1).
Birds have four main requirements from the environment: shelter or roosting, nesting
sites, food and water. Some trees and shrubs provide for all of the first three
of these needs, while others are specialist providers of different parts of the
habitat (W2). Growing plants in a range of sizes and types will provide food and
shelter for a variety of birds (W3). As different plants flower in different seasons,
including a variety of shrubs and trees in your garden is important. A diversity
of plants will also encourage a diversity of insects which again encourages lots
of insect-eating birds (W1).
You can increase the pleasure and satisfaction you get from your garden by careful
planning and plant selection. You should try, if possible, to create a mixture
of over-storey, middle-storey and under-storey using trees, large shrubs, small
shrubs, wildflowers and grasses of local species of plants. This combination will
attract birds which feed on nectar, insects, fruit and seeds. Dense and prickly
shrubs can also be planted to provide protection from predators at ground level.
Try to plant some species which flower in winter when food is scarce. Birds are
attracted to plantings which create small dense patches of green interfacing with
open sunlight (W4).
All birds need somewhere to
hide in the event of danger from predatory birds, cats or dogs. Providing shrubs
and trees at various levels - low, medium and high and especially dense or prickly
shrubs and trees, will provide a safe spot for birds to hide and escape. Local
species of trees and shrubs will attract the widest range of local species of
birds. Birds often flee from predators into low spiky shrubs. Other birds require
tall shelter which itself needs more space. All birds require a roost to spend
the night or day.
one has a quiet, secluded garden comparatively free from interference and domestic
pets, then birds may be attracted to nest in it. It is important to have food
plants and plants which attract insects near the site as small birds must conserve
energy while nesting.
birds will create nests in trees and shrubs using twigs, moss and other plant
materials. Other birds rely on tree hollows for nesting. Hollows can take a hundred
years or more to form in a tree and there are few mature trees in urban areas.
An alternative to a tree hollow is a nest box. In early spring, a
In Part 2 of Hibiscus International No. 19
Ross H. Gast
years ago, in his spacious Honolulu garden Alonzo Gartley
crossed a native white hibiscus (H. arnottianus)
with a red hibiscus from India (H. rosa-sinensis).
The result of this interspecific
cross was a large single pink, a horti-cultural variety
that Gartley named Agnes Galt (left
photo: C. Quirino © 2002),
for the wife of his friend, John Galt. That this variety
is still widely grown, should give pause to some of us
modern hibiscus breeders, for how many of our Tricolor
winners will be around fifty years from now?
Gartley, whose paper on hibiscus hybridization (reprinted
from the "Friend", February 1913) follows, was one of
the several Honolulu busi-nessmen who were responsible
for establishing the hibiscus hobby in Hawaii. He was
not the first, however, Archibald Cleghorn, brother-in-law
of King Kamehameha IV and governor of Oahu, is credited
with having crossed the native Hawaiian species with H.
rosa-sinensis as early as 1872. By the turn of the century
interest had greatly increased, to reach a peak during
the period 1910-1914. In 1911, a Hibiscus Society was
organized, and that year, held its first show at which
2,000 different forms were on display.
of the earliest hibiscus breeders, Valentine Holt, brought
his extensive collection to the Hawaiian Agricultural
Experiment Station in 1911, and took a position there
as Assistant in Horticulture. The Station report of that
year shows that Holt gave out 3,000 hibiscus cuttings
to the public, and the following years, 25,000 cuttings
the year the article which follows was published, a bulletin
on hibis-cus, written by E. V. Wilcox and Valentine Holt
was issued by the Station as their Bulletin No. 29, "Ornamental
Hibiscus in Hawaii."
Now long out of print and difficult to secure,
it is still the most comprehensive work on hibiscus available.
It gives the parentage of, and describes 239 forms, including
33 varieties brought in from Fiji, India, and other parts
of the world which with the native Hawaiian whites and
reds, were the progenitors of the modern Hawaiian hybrids.
earliest crosses were confined to the use of native Hawaiian
whites as pod parents, as only a few of the introduced
varieties were seeders. Although the forms of H. rosa-sinensis
brought in were not truly species, but were the result
of hundreds of years of natural change and perhaps some
human selection, they were in effect species when crossed
with the native species, producing hybrids with great
hybrid vigor. This is the case with most interspecific
crosses. In addition to Agnes Galt many of the
hybrids produced during this period still persist as dooryard
and public landscape plantings throughout the world. The
double pink Kona, the single pink, Mrs. Lillian
Wilder and many others we still see are F-I hybrids
with native Hawaiian white as one parent.
breeders, of course, are interested in show blooms, and
to them these forms are primitive. Yet we must all admit
that they have been of real horticultural significance
in that they are not only the progenitors of modern hibiscus,
but because they are still around, useful in landscape
plantings wherever tropical hibiscus can be grown.
Not all of Mr. Gartley's observations are valid today,
because his experience was with species and very old types
of H. rosa-sinensis, and the laws of heredity as laid
down by the Mendelian theory did apply to a great extent.
But today, when working with highly complex hybrids, we
cannot accept all of his experience.
Alonzo Gartley was an Industrial engineer, a graduate
from the U. S. Naval Academy and in his earlier years
an engineering officer in the Navy. He came to Hawaii
in 1900, and became manager of the Hawaiian Electric Company,
as well as a director in many other firms. He died in
to Hawaii and discriminating kamaainas almost without exception agree that the
Hibiscus is the most satisfactory and perhaps most generally admired of all our
flowering shrubs. The soil and climatic conditions seem especially favorable to
its growth, and there seems to be an almost complete immunity from disease. As
a result it has been widely used as an ornamental garden shrub and hedge plant,
but it has not yet had the extensive planting its' beauty and its utility deserves.
An educational campaign is necessary to focus appreciative attention upon perhaps
the most valuable asset of Honolulu Beautiful.
is an enthusiastic group of men and women in Hawaii who have a full appreciation
of this plant, and it is hoped through them that such an educational campaign
may be promoted and furthered.
A hibiscus club has already been formed to promote a better knowledge of the methods
of growing hibiscus and producing new varieties, and it is to be hoped that a
large membership will result in the production of a great many desirable flowers,
and an ultimate wide distribution and planting throughout the city. Such extensive
plantings would add so materially to the attractiveness and beauty of our city
that there is a possibility of Honolulu being as well known through its hibiscus
as Japan is through its cherry blossoms and chrysanthemums. Five or ten acres
of park are carefully planted with thousands of varieties of beautiful hibiscus,
and brought up to a high state of cultivation, would be one of the botanical wonders
of the world (sic).
of thousands is speaking advisedly, for, from the twenty or thirty varieties introduced,
and the native varieties, three or four years production by cross-pollination
has increased the number to over a thousand, and many of the new varieties are
vastly superior to the original parents.
The facility with which these flowers can be cross-pollinated has resulted in
most wonderful collections in many of the gardens. Here indeed is a most satisfactory
and pleasurable outdoor fad, and one which has apparently limitless practical
utility and great scientific interest, for there is no other plant which lends
itself more readily to a study of heredity in plant life.
The simplicity of the methods employed is not generally known, and the possibility
of the results to be obtained not realized by the average garden worker. We have
therefore undertaken to illustrate some of these methods and the results in such
a way that interests may be promoted and the work furthered.
hibiscus belongs to the mallow family: which includes the Hawaiian hau,
the illima, the large group of mallows, the common vegetable okra, the
cotton plant and the Roselle or H. sabdariffa. They are all well
worth considering as many of the flowers and plants are very beautiful, and especially
is this true of the Hawaiian variety known as H. breckenridgei, which has
a rich foliage and a very, velvety yellow flower. The Chinese or Rose of Sinensis
varieties, ordinarily grown in the gardens of which the brilliant scarlet and
pink flowering hedges are examples, are the ones which from their hardiness and
wealth of foliage and flowers have attracted the most attention, and have been
brought to the highest state of cultivation. It is from these varieties that the
great number of new types has been produced.
It is not generally known that there are many indigenous varieties of single reds,
yellows and whites on Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Molokai and Hawaii. These native varieties
are very handsome and some obtain the size of trees, some being over forty feet
high with trunks twelve inches in diameter. The sight of such a tree covered with
thousands of fragrant flowers, each six or eight inches in diameter, with a stamen
ten inches long, will linger in the memory forever.
The majority of these native varieties produce seed freely, and thus have been
continuously propagated in the Hawaiian forests. These native varieties together
with some twenty or thirty varieties which have been introduced have been the
materials which the local workers have employed.
To produce seed, a flower is pollinated by covering the stigmata on the end of
the stamen with pollen, either from the same flower - when it is spoken of as
being self-pollinated - or from another flower, when it is spoken of as being
cross-pollinated. Such plants as are reproduced without variation by self-pollinated
seeds are called pure-breeds. Those whose self-pollinated seeds produce plants
and flowers showing variation from the original self-pollinated plant and flower
are hybrids, mixed-breeds or cross-breeds. It can be safely said that all of the
Hawaiian varieties are pure breeds. Of the introduced varieties comparatively
few produce seed, and these seeds seldom reproduce these varieties true. They
are therefore crossbred flowers, the seeds from which will produce a wide variation
in the resulting progeny.
is no doubt that hibiscus follow very closely, the laws of heredity as laid down
and developed by the Mendelian theory, and it is this fact which makes the hibiscus
a valuable plant for the scientific worker. (Mendel published his work in 1866
but it was almost completely ignored until about 1900. This article was published
in 1913 - Editor, The Friend). As everyone knows, the colors, shape and sizes
of the flowers are quite variable, and they are also single, semi-double, and
With this material so rich in variety it is possible to obtain an
almost infinite number of new forms. The single ones vary in color from pure white
through the entire range of the spectrum down to dark red with the exception of
blues and purples. The numbers of doubles, and their colors, however, are much
more limited, the extreme limits of the scale being pure canary yellow, and the
dark double red. It is necessary for the worker to well establish in his mind
the unit character of the different flowers as to size, color, shape, texture
and whether single, double or semi-double, and at all times during the breeding
to carry in mind these unit characters.
worker should previously determine the characters which are desired and should
conduct the breeding in such a way as to produce these characters if possible,
not endeavoring, however, to unite too many characters in a single flower. Say
that a double flower is desired there are three ways of producing this and possibly
Unfortunately we have but two double flowers which produce seed, and both of these
are double red, the one being a small dark red known as the Carnation the other
a red flower somewhat larger. Cross-pollinating a single flower on either of these
doubles should produce a limited number of doubles, but a much greater number
of single flowers.
Cross-pollinating a double flower on either of these doubles will give more satisfactory
results, and a larger number of doubles will be produced, but a certain number
of single flowers may be expected. Cross-pollinating a double upon a single flower
of a seedling variety will also produce a limited number of doubles. It will be
noted above that the crosses resulting from doubles with doubles, and doubles
with singles, both produce singles. Should these resulting singles seed, or if
the pollen of these singles is fertile upon other singles, a very limited number
of the resulting progeny may be double.
This seems remarkable, but if we recall that the unit or genetic character of
doubleness is possessed by these flowers, the resulting doubles in the progeny
of these flowers may be explained.
In regard to changing the form, we have a variety called "Coral" (H.
Schizopetalus) which resembles a delicate piece of pink coral and is illustrated
at "B" in Figure 1. (We regret that it is impossible to reproduce the pictures
from the source of material we have. We have changed the wording a little so that
you will understand what Mr. Gartley is referring to in the pictures. - Ed.) Flowers
"A" (shows a double) and "C" (shows a fringed single like Dainty or La France)
of Figure I are the result of cross-pollinating with "B" (the Coral hibiscus);
"A" (the double) resulted from crossing the coral hibiscus on what is known as
Red Carnation, and "C" (the fringed single), resulted from crossing Coral
on a single hibiscus.
It will be readily noted that the dark colors of the female parent have been retained,
but that both in the double and the single crosses the resulting flowers show
a marked fringing of the edges of the petals. It is therefore possible to obtain
fringed flowers, both single and double, through the medium of the Coral
flower "B". Further study of heredity would indicate that if the pollen from "A"
and "C" should prove fertile that either of these flowers may be used in further
crossing to produce fringed flowers, insomuch as both of them have this genetic
character derived from the original parent "B". A single fringed white flower
resembling as nearly as possible the Coral in shape is one of the future
possibilities, and is being, earnestly worked for.
As to breeding for color a great deal yet remains to be known. The majority of
crosses between the whites and yellows and the whites and reds has resulted in
pink flowers of all shades; thus the results show no resemblance to either parent,
and it is almost beyond belief that a dark red flower, when crossed on pure white,
should produce a shell pink, and that a pure dark yellow when crossed on pure
white should entirely lose its yellow character, resulting likewise in a shell
pink colored f lower. Yet, this is the case.
The first generation cross resulting in a hybrid, and these flowers frequently
do not reproduce seed. Either they cannot be fertilized themselves or their pollen
is not fertile on other flowers. A few of these, however, do seed, and by self-pollinating
these flowers, the original colors, yellow and red, of the parents may be reproduced,
and the size, texture and shape probably greatly improved. These flowers can also
be cross-pollinated with the pollen of another flower possessing desirable characters,
and thus almost any character desired may be separated out and bred into a new
It is true of almost all heredity, that the strong characters are the ones which
dominate in the resulting cross, thus a handsome flower upon a bush with poor
foliage may be bred into an inferior flower on a bush with strong rich foliage,
and the character of a large flower and strong rich foliage be the result. The
advanced workers are endeavoring to produce a large double white flower resembling
in character the well known Peachblow, but without the color. This will
probably be produced from a self-fertilized, single hybrid, resulting from a cross
between a pure white and a large double f lower.
Perhaps only those observers and those who have worked upon these flowers would
notice the seed pod on the hibiscus. Figure II illustrates such a pod. The flower
illustrated in this cut is also very unique both in color and in shape. The color
is a brilliant salmon orange, and the center is marked with deep claret and pure
white. It will be noticed also that instead of the usual pistil tube surmounted
with pollen and stigmata, the end of the pistil tube of this flower has developed
a number of petals, thus marking it as a semi-double. The stigmata and pollen
are present, however, and the flower admits of self and cross-pollination. Curious
to relate, however, that in nearly every instance where flowers have been produced
from this plant, through self or cross pollination, the results have been large,
single, scarlet flowers of great brilliancy, and of velvety crepe like texture,
varying in every particular widely from the parent.
Figure III (not available) shows a very handsome cross-bred flower, resulting
from a pure white single and a near magenta single. This is known as the Cecilia
Knudson, and produced by Mrs. C. H. Rice of Kauai. The color is a delicate
pink with almost a black center. The flower is large in size and the foliage a
rich glossy green. It illustrates very characteristically both the foliage and
the form of many of the hibiscus, and is given as an illustration of one of our
superior varieties. It shows clearly the stamen with the stigmata and the pollen.
The pollen cells, however, have not yet broken, and they frequently do not break
until late in the day. This flower also has characters which have been introduced
into many other crosses, viz: that of remaining open from two to three days, instead
of shutting up on the evening of the first day - and possesses a very delicate
fragrance. Both of these characters were inherited from the pure white parent.
Now, as to the actual method of procedure in cross-pollinating - the flowers which
produce seed in the majority of cases are susceptible to self-pollination. It
is therefore necessary to remove all pollen from the stamen of the flower to be
worked upon, preferably before the pollen cells break. The pollen from the flower
to be used for fertilization is then placed on the stigmata. Results are more
certain when pollination is done in the morning. At the time of pollination a
tag marked with the names of the parents should be tied to the flower stem for
About six weeks should mature the seed if fertilization has been complete, and
the resulting seed pod will contain from one to seventy-five seeds. When ripe
these seeds should be picked and planted in seed boxes, and about a month after
sprouting each individual plant should be planted in a four inch pot, and transplanted
from time to time Into five, six, or eight inch pots, and finally into the ground.
The worker can find no more fascinating occupation than following the growth and
ultimate fruiting of these plants. Many leaf variations will be evident from the
time the plant becomes large enough to show its leaves, and the budding and opening
of the bud gives much pleasurable expectation. There still remains the pleasure
of giving favorite flowers the name of favored ladies.
All those who have already undertaken the work are very enthusiastic, and as has
been mentioned above, there are no doubt twelve or fifteen hundred varieties now
in Honolulu. Many of these will be rejected, and perhaps two or three hundred
of the most desirable ones retained. Further and continued crossing will produce
many more desirable varieties, and if the number of workers is increased and the
desirable kinds systematically collected and planted, many thousands would ultimately
To summarize: A great number of workers should endeavor to obtain as many handsome
flowers as possible, and freely distribute these flowers, especially in private
gardens. From five to ten acres of park area should be set aside, cultivated and
planted with hibiscus of selected varieties.
A large growing exhibit of hibiscus should be planted in San Francisco at the
Hawaiian exhibit in 1915. This exhibit could be placed in charge of the Hawaiian
Federal Experiment Station under the immediate direction of Valentine Holt, who
has produced perhaps more crosses than any one in Honolulu.
Articles and Photo Gallery Section are found in Part 2 of this Issue of Hibiscus
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© 2002 International Hibiscus