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Contents:   
 (click on the title to directly access a given article)

Editorial Introduction:|President's Message|Hibiscus and The Philippines|How The Hibiscus of The Year is Chosen|Fishing for The Right Flowers|Marvellous Mallow|



 

EDITORIAL INTRODUCTION

It hardly seems possible that this is the ninth issue of our publication. Time really flies when you are having fun and enjoy what you are doing. So to that end, I am a happy camper. Work for me is just staying busy, and I've worked several jobs all my life. Now that I'm older, I can just pick and choose what I want to do in the literary area. In addition to my genealogical columns, occasional short stories and books, and newsletters, I find that I'm happiest when I'm busy. Therefore, I relax in my garden, returning to the computer when I'm ready to get back to the literary field. Travel is sometimes a part of my leisure quest.

Spring is coming early to my corner of the world. It's mid-February, and I've already moved most of my hibiscus out of the greenhouse, utility room and from my bedroom and bathroom. Of course, they are positioned in such a way that they can be yanked back to safety in case of a late freeze. I really feel as if our winter is over, so I'm going to chance leaving things alone. I've already acquired more planting soil, the proper plant foods, new pots and am ready to begin my spring ritual of starting more seedlings. I have lots of seeds to start with, and this winter I got some started on a special heating unit in a friend's greenhouse. Most of these new seedlings are compliments of Bob Rivers-Smith in New Zealand. And my Merjan X Merv's Fascination is coming right along as are all my Tahiti Reds and the crosses with this one. Hopefully, I'll have something different to exhibit at our show in July. Hope springs eternal, or something like that.

Whether it's spring or fall in your part of the world, I wish you the very best. The bottom line is that we all enjoy the same thing, our beautiful Queen of the Tropics.      

Damon Veach, Editor





PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

It is with great pleasure that I would like to announce another of the great IHS projects, one that I have alluded to in earlier communications. It ranks up there with our web site and H.I. in importance. It is a CD entitled "The IHS Hibiscus Odyssey 2002", and is the brainchild of Joseph Dimino who has put in untold hours in its creation. A number of other IHS members have contributed including myself, Chris Noble and Nadeen Pickard as well as the entire Board who have reviewed this CD. Nearly a year ago, the board reviewed Joseph's proposition and voted to form the CD committee, which consisted of Joseph, Nadeen, and myself. We have worked through many dozens of communications, if not a hundred or more, and we are very pleased with the results.

As to the format, Joseph has worked some incredible graphic wizardry in the creation of this CD, which has a theme based on the Sci-Fi film 2001. You will have to see it to understand just how impressive it is. It is full of high tech graphics, video clips, and narrations - the whole nine yards. It is truly a knock your socks off CD, and Joseph gets full credit for the concept and creation of this format.

As to content, it is also very interesting. Diversity is the basic theme. It has considerable original content with in depth articles on Hibiscus Care, Propagation, Hybridizing, Pests & Diseases, plus the International Cross Reference Registry and the AmHS Registry and all H.I. publications to date. There is a Photo Gallery and Hibiscus Archive (many hundreds of photos). It is to my knowledge, by far the most complete hibiscus CD to date and something every hibiscus enthusiasts could profit from immensely. As Nadeen says, when you put this CD in your computer, fasten your seat belt, put your chair in its upright position, tape your socks on (too cold to fly barefoot) and prepare for take off - maybe even a good idea to have the smelling salts at close hand.

This is another example of the International Hibiscus Society doing good things for the hibiscus community and beyond.

Warmest Regards
Dick Johnson, President





HIBISCUS AND THE PHILIPPINES

Part 1 Hibiscus in the Islands:
Pearls in the Orient By: Carlos C. Quirino, Jr.

January 2002

 

The Philippines is a country consisting of 7,100 islands situated in the southeastern part of the Pacific Ocean. Its official name is the Republic of the Philippines. These islands bask in the northern tropical zone and are about 100 kilometers from the coast of mainland Asia.

It has a total area of 300,000 square kilometers and is an archipelago. The two largest islands, Luzon in the northern part and Mindanao in the south make up some two-thirds of this total area. Most of the land on these two islands and in some of the other smaller ones like Mindoro and Palawan are mountainous and covered with primary jungle forests. Volcanoes dot the countryside as the Philippines sits atop the western edge of what is generally known as the Pacific “Ring of Fire”. The islands were named in honor of Philip II of Spain after Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese explorer, led a Spanish expedition to circumnavigate the world in search of new trade routes for the King and Queen of Spain. In 1521, Magellan sighted a group of islands in the central part of the Archipelago known as the Visayas and landed on an island there called Cebu. This began a long period of Spanish rule after Miguel Lopez de Legazpi founded the first Spanish settlement in 1566.

The Spaniards introduced Christianity to the Philippines. Today, more Christians live in the Archipelago than in any other Asian country. But, the 400-hundred year Spanish colonial yoke was overthrown in the 1890’s after several revolts against the rule of Castille. On June 12, 1898, nationalist leaders declared the Philippines independent. Earlier that year, however, hostilities between the United States and Spain broke into a declared war between these two countries in April 1898 and culminated with the U.S. Fleet defeating the Spanish Armada in the Pacific in the Battle of Manila Bay on May 1. After both countries signed a peace treaty towards the end of that year, the United States occupied and took control of the islands but eventually developed the country into a self-governing commonwealth in 1935. War broke out soon thereafter with the Japanese occupying the islands from 1942 to 1945. With the Liberation of Manila by advancing allied forces led by Gen. Douglas MacArthur of the United States of America Forces in the Far East (USAFFE), the Philippines eventually reestablished its full independence on July 4, 1946. Because it lies in the cusp of South East Asia, the Philippines is known as the “Pearl of the Orient”. It is a founding member of the United Nations, the ASEAN and several other international organizations.

The Philippines is a largely mountainous country, with narrow strips of lowland along the coastal fringes but also contains broad inland plains, especially on the islands of Luzon and Panay. These islands were formed about 50 million years ago as a result of the buckling of the Earth’s crust and volcanic eruptions.

The Philippine Trench, one of the deepest in the World, is located off the northeast coast of Mindanao and reaches a depth of 10,439 meters below the surface of the Pacific. Scientists believe that this trench forms the boundary between two tectonic plates, which are constantly pushing against each other. One plate is bending downwards beneath the other. Deep beneath the earth’s crust, the descending plate melts, creating magma and tremendous pressure that fuels sporadic eruptions in some of the Archipelago’s numerous volcanoes, notably Mt. Pinatubo, Mayon (inset, left) and Taal. The Philippines also has many fine bays and harbors. Those situated on the western coasts of the country providing some of the most spectacular sunsets in the world.

The Philippine Islands extend about 1,850 kilometers from north to south, and about 1,100 kilometers from east to west. Luzon Island, which has an area of 104,688 square kilometers, is the most important island in the Archipelago and including Mindoro Island, form the northern group. Several mountain ranges run generally north-to-south through northern Luzon which include the Cordillera Central and the Sierra Madre chain in the northeast between which lies the fertile Cagayan Valley. Banaue (pronounced: “ba-na-weh”), northeast of the highland mountain resort city of Baguio (pronounced: “bag-yo”), the City of Pines and the Summer Capital of the Philippines) in the Mountain Province of Benguet (pronounced “beng-get”), is famous for its cascading rice terraces and is considered one of the wonders of the world.


    
   Sunset In Manila Bay              Beach Sunset 
  
    Rice Terrace         Kalinga Tribal Warrior

The central part of Luzon and adjacent Mindoro Island are the country’s main rice-producing regions. The capital, Manila, stands on the eastern shore of a superb natural harbor called the Manila Bay which is bounded in it narrow entrance to the west by Corregidor Island, site of one of the most fiercest battles between the invading Japanese Imperial Forces and the defending Filipino and American soldiers at the outbreak of World War II in the Pacific.

In the southeastern part of Luzon lies the Bicol region, a long, narrow peninsula with a ragged coastline which is famous for, among other things, its hot Sili peppers, the Pili nut tree and a string of active volcanoes that include a perfectly shaped cone volcano, Mount Mayon and other less known volcanoes such as Bulusan, Iriga and Isarog. The land in this area contains undulating hills, flat plains and numerous hot springs where spas and waterfalls abound. The volcanic soils of Luzon are extremely fertile making it ideal for farming and the growing of ornamentals like hibiscus particularly the Gumamelang Pula or red hibiscus (a variety of Versicolor Rose Scott) which grows rampantly in many gardens and along roads and highways leading into towns and cities along the way. It also has large deposits of copper, gold and other valuable minerals and ores.

The central part of the Philippines contains a number of other islands with medium-sized populations. Samar (13,080 square kilometers), situated in eastern Visayas, is a triangular shaped hilly and verdant island. It is the third largest in the Archipelago and is adjacent to the peninsula of Bicol. It is basically a rural and farming area where thousands of hectares of abaca (i.e., Philippine hemp), a variety of coconut species, maize and rice are cultivated. Samar Island has many undiscovered and therefore undeveloped fine white-, ash- and ochre-colored beaches. The mountainous interior is blanketed with thick forests teeming with wild flora and fauna.

Numerous local but older varieties of hibiscus grow wild in many of the hills leading up to the interior of this island as in others some of which remain unidentified. Richard “Dick” Johnson, an eminent hybridist of hibiscus living in Tahiti in the Pacific Ocean recently related to this author that the identification and naming of these older hibiscus rosa-sinensis varieties in the Philippines may not be possible. It has become apparent that a number of plants arrived in the Philippines from Hawaii, especially in the earlier years and were never registered. Although they may have had an unregistered name, it has been lost. Moreover, in Dick’s opinion, many were never even given names and may have just had a number of color group designations. He further adds that, in these cases, there are no records (i.e., photos or registered names and descriptions) for many of these older varieties. This observation may indeed have some bearing with the fact that in the early 1920’s and 1930’s, when the Philippines was a Commonwealth nation allied with the United States of America, numerous Filipinos from the northern Ilocos region in Luzon emigrated to Hawaii finding work in the large pineapple plantations that dot that island chain in the center of the Pacific Ocean. Often, these émigrés would come back home for visits to family and friends and it is not beyond one’s imagination that a number of them brought back some rooted cuttings of the old Hawaiian hibiscus rosa-sinensis stock that Dick Johnson speaks of. And because Filipinos love to garden, no matter how small their plots may be in certain cases, it wasn’t long before these plants may have eventually found their places in other private gardens and parts of the Archipelago. Filipinos are a hospitable people and do not flinch when offering their homes, however modest, for a few nights stay to new acquaintances. If such a guest fancies a particular plant growing in a backyard garden of his host you can expect the owner to root cuttings and send them to that person in a few weeks time. This may explain why a number of old hibiscus rosa-sinensis varieties growing in one island may be found thriving also in many other parts of the Philippine Archipelago. This observation may indeed have some bearing with the fact that in the early 1920’s and 1930’s, when the Philippines was a Commonwealth nation allied with the United States of America, numerous Filipinos from the northern Ilocos region in Luzon emigrated to Hawaii finding work in the large pineapple plantations that dot that island chain in the center of the Pacific Ocean. Often, these émigrés would come back home for visits to family and friends and it is not beyond one’s imagination that a number of them brought back some rooted cuttings of the old Hawaiian hibiscus rosa-sinensis stock that Dick Johnson speaks of. And because Filipinos love to garden, no matter how small their plots may be in certain cases, it wasn’t long before these plants may have eventually found their places in other private gardens and parts of the Archipelago. Filipinos are a hospitable people and do not flinch when offering their homes, however modest, for a few nights stay to new acquaintances. If such a guest fancies a particular plant growing in a backyard garden of his host you can expect the owner to root cuttings and send them to that person in a few weeks time. This may explain why a number of old hibiscus rosa-sinensis varieties growing in one island may be found thriving also in many other parts of the Philippine Archipelago.      

South of Samar are the other Visayan group of islands. Leyte Island, with an area of 7,214 square kilometers, is connected to Samar by the San Juanico Bridge (inset, left) overlooking Leyte Gulf. This rugged, mountainous and relatively undeveloped island became famous during World War II and was the scene of the first landing of USAFFE troops when they recaptured the Philippines from the occupying Japanese forces in 1944. A beautiful modern-looking memorial statue marks the exact spot where these forces landed and is located just south of the provincial capital of Tacloban. Leyte also hosts the Mahagnao Volcano and several national parks and a lake. Imelda Marcos, wife of deposed Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos and famous for her huge collection of named-brand shoes, was born in Tacloban.

To the east and southeast of Leyte are the Panay, Negros, Cebu and Bohol islands. Panay (1,515 square kilometers) is the westernmost island in the Visayas Region. It has a roughly trapezoidal shape and contains a rugged mountain range along its western side and rolling uplands on the opposite east side of this ridge. Farther east sprawls the Iloilo Plain, the most fertile and more densely populated side of this island. Farmers in Panay produce copra, sugar, rice and other basic agricultural staples and vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants, cabbage and okra. Okra (H. Esculentus) particularly, is grown in almost all the islands in the Archipelago, it being pantropic. It is cultivated for its edible fruit (see insets) which, when immature, is succulent and edible. The fruit has an elongated capsule that tapers gradually to a point, is 10 to 25 centimeters in length and 1.5 to 3 centimeters in breadth, and contains rows of rounded, kidney-shaped seeds. It is eaten in various ways and is prized as an ingredient in many soup and stew preparations. An analysis of the unripe capsules show that these have the general characteristics of a succulent vegetable, and are a fair source of iron and a good source of calcium.

The fruit of okra also contains abundant pectin. Some have observed that the plant is aromatic, with an odor slightly resembling that of cloves. When distilled with water, the leaves yield an essential oil that in time solidifies as a crystalline camphor, called “Basil Camphor”. The seeds of okra are mucilaginous and from this substance a syrup is made to relieve sore throats. Some consider it to have an aphrodisiac effect. It also has many other medicinal values. A decoction of the young fruit is used in treating fevers and problems normally afflicting the genito-urinary organs. In dysentery, especially in chronic forms, the bland mucilage is often beneficial. Toasted seeds of okra are used as a substitute for coffee and an infusion has sudorific properties
.

The city of Iloilo – the Queen City of the South, which rests on the southeastern coast of Panay is the trading and commercial center of western Visayas. There are many grand houses still standing along the old residential section of this city most built along pre-war architectural lines. Iloilo Island and its main city were spared much damage during the last conflict in the Pacific. Surrounding most of these manors of old are a number of large manicured gardens that showcase numerous tropical and other flowering plants. Once on a visit to that city, the author saw large bushes of Jewel of India (Unknown [x] Unknown) all carefully trained to grow as tall hedges pregnant with big beautiful baby-pink double blooms that looked like delicious cotton candy from afar. Certainly a soothing sight for sore eyes. Think sugar. That’s what Negros Island (12,705 square kilometers) is mostly about. Thousands upon thousands of hectares are planted to cane in this boot-shaped island. It is a verdant paradise with volcanic mountains forming the backbone of a ridge stretching from its northern tip all the way down to its southern coasts. The highest point in Negros is Kanlaon Volcano rising to a height of 2,540 meters above sea level. Because of its volcanic soils, bananas and other tropical fruit trees are also cultivated. These include bananas of all varieties, mangoes, pineapples, guyabano, jackfruit, star apples (Kaimito), sugar apples (Atis), passion fruit, water and honeydew melons, guavas, grapefruits and a host of other citrus fruit varieties not seen elsewhere outside of the Archipelago. In Negros is also grown a hibiscus plant known as Kastuli (in Tagalog) or the “musk mallow”.      

Musk mallow or Hibiscus Abelmoschus is found throughout the island in open places, usually grasslands and old clearings at low and medium altitudes. Like okra, it is pantropic. This plant is exceedingly variable in vegetative character. It is an annual, erect, branched herb about one meter high or less and is covered with very long hairs. The leaves are orbicular-ovate to ovate, 6 to 15 centimeters long, variously angled or lobed, usually broad, heart-shaped at the base, pointed at the tip, and toothed in the margins.

The flowers of H. Abelmoschus are about 10 centimeters in diameter, with yellow petals which are, however, purple at the base, inside. The capsules of the musk mallow are oblong-ovoid and 5 to 7 centimeters long, are covered with long hairs, and contain numerous musky seed. Records show that the seed yields an essential oil that contains farnesol, an abundance of palmitic acid, furfurol, acetic and ambrettol acid. The seeds, after being pounded and prepared in decoction, are administered as a diuretic, tonic, carminative and anti-hysteric. A mucilaginous decoction of the root and leaves is used in the treatment of gonorrhea as for headaches, rheumatism, varicose veins and fever. And like the effect that the fresh juice of young coconuts have on certain organs of the human body, the fruit of H. Abelmoschus, in powder or infusion, may be given for flushing and stimulating the intestines and kidneys. 

We now come to Cebu Island (4,442 square kilometers) which is east of Negros, with both islands separated by a narrow strait bounded by the Visayan Sea on the north and the Sulu Sea in the south. Cebu is a long, spear-tipped shaped and narrow island with a mountainous backbone running along almost its entire length. But for its size in the Archipelago, it is the most densely populated island in the Philippines. Cebu was the first island to be settled by the Spaniards in the mid1500’s. It’s chief city, also called Cebu, was founded by Spanish missionaries in 1565 and was the capital of the Philippines until 1571. Today, it is a busy port and the central distribution point for trade for the Visayan islands, Palawan to the west and Mindanao to the south. Many people here and abroad still believe that Tagalog, which is spoken in Luzon and other parts of the country and is the root for the national language, Pilipino, is the most widely used dialect in the Philippines but it is Cebuano instead which holds that distinction. The Cebuano dialect is a soft, romantic, melting and endearing one spoken as a loving mother would to a child.

Admonishments sound as if one were asking for favors. Cebu and its main city is accompanied by a smaller island facing east called Mactan. Both are connected by a bridge spanning a narrow strait. Mactan is where a number of world-class hotels, beach resorts and the Mactan International Airport are located. It was here, in 1521, where the explorer Magellan met his end at the hands of Datu Lapu lapu, the island’s chieftain, in an abbreviated but fierce battle for control. A simple but elegant bronze monument (inset, upper-left) has been erected in honor of Lapu-lapu, the first Filipino who resisted attempts by others to occupy an already settled archipelago. If you ever get an opportunity to travel around the unbeaten paths around Mactan and along most roadsides you will observe growing tall bushes of what the author believes to be Archerii (Albo Lacinatus [x] H. Schizopetalus) and Sprinkle Rain (Unknown [x] Unkown). By tall, we mean heights reaching 7 feet and higher as these bushes are left to grow wild without benefit of regular prunings (insets, middle and lower left). As to who or whom may have planted all these, certainly flower loving Filipinos as greenery and color play an important role in their everyday lives.   
           
            Festivals               Beaches         Rivers                People
                                             
                                          Collector Item


If you are thinking of chocolates than Bohol Island (3,865 square kilometers) has something to offer in terms of a delight but not of the culinary kind, though. Situated southeast of Cebu, Bohol is roughly circular-shaped and a high plateau runs from the northeast to the southwest of this land. On its western portion is yet another small wonder of the world called, the Chocolate Hills – approximately 1,000 conical-shaped mounds that jut out from nowhere each covered abundantly with tropical vegetation. They are called these because during the dry summer months beginning in June, these hills gradually turn a brownish-tan color and are a sight to see – like Hershey’s Kisses. All these hills were formed perhaps a million years ago by the erosion of the overlying coral and limestone bedrock found in that part of this island.
There is also one hibiscus specie H. Cannabinus, with a delightfully looking bloom. It has a strong reddish purple tone and grows in some parts of Bohol Island. It is surprising because this
particular plant has been known to grow only in one of several Mountain Provinces in northern Luzon called Bontoc and in Pangasinan Province south of Baguio City. For those who are more familiar with this plant in the Philippines, H. Cannabinus is also known as Alas Doce (or, the Twelve o’clock plant), because of the subterranean midnight-like hue of a flower the plant produces. It is kept in some few private gardens for purely ornamental purposes but is scarcely naturalized. Hibiscus Cannabinus (inset, lower left) is a native of the Old World but is also pantropic. This is an herb with smooth and prickly stems. The lower leaves are entire and heart-shaped, and the upper ones are deeply palmate lobed. The sepals are bristly, lanceolate, and connate below the middle, with a gland at the back of each. The corolla is large, spreading, and yellow with crimson center and its capsules are rounded and bristly as well. Seeds of Alas Doce are nearly smooth and yield a 23.5 per cent edible oil the Habelzalim of old Persia, which is used as an external application for pains and bruises. The plant is often cultivated for its fiber and its leaves are used as a potherb. The whole plant contains abundant polysaccharides, starch dextrin; much pectin; tannin; phosphatides and some protein. The leaves are used as a purgative and an infusion is used as a remedy for coughs. Others believe Alas Doce to be an aphrodisiac., because of the subterranean midnight-like hue of a flower the plant produces.  It is kept in some few private gardens for purely ornamental purposes but is scarcely naturalized. Hibiscus Cannabinus (inset, lower left) is a native of the Old World but is also pantropic. This is an herb with smooth and prickly stems. The lower leaves are entire and heart-shaped, and the upper ones are deeply palmate-lobed. The sepals are bristly, lanceolate, and connate below the middle, with a gland at the back of each. The corolla is large, spreading, and yellow with crimson center and its capsules are rounded and bristly as well. Seeds of Alas Doce are nearly smooth and yields a 23.5 per cent edible oil – the Habel-zalim of old Persia, which is used as an external application for pains and bruises. The plant is often cultivated for its fiber and its leaves are used as a pot-herb. The whole plant contains abundant polysaccharides, starch dextrin; much pectin; tannin; phosphatides and some protein. The leaves are used as a purgative and an infusion is used as a remedy for coughs. Others believe Alas Doce to be an aphrodisiac.

             
   Bohol Sunrise       A Bohol Beach      Tarsius         Bohol Village Store

                                          
                           Dive Site Resort     Below Bohol






HOW THE HIBISCUS OF THE YEAR IS CHOSEN
By Jim Purdie

When a new seedling is shown at monthly meetings and Annual shows, and it starts to win some Certificate of Merits, it can be nominated for the Hibiscus of the Year (HOTY) competition.

Every seedling must be registered before it can be in the competition. There are rules to be followed by the selection committee, which are as follows:

1. The competition for HIBISCUS OF THE YEAR, hereafter referred to as H.O.T.Y. will be conducted annually to determine the most outstanding seedling or new variety hybridized and raised in Australia.

2. All seedlings entered in HOTY must be properly registered with the society Nomenclature Officer.

3. In June the current HOTY Committee of President, Secretary and two nominees from each branch will choose worthy seedling blooms and invite them to the HOTY competition. The Secretary, on behalf of the selection panel, will notify the person (hereafter referred to as the invitee) who registered an outstanding seedling, that the seedling should be entered in the HOTY competition. The invitee must reply by the September meeting of the Committee so that the nominations can be finalized and plants distributed to the evaluators before the end of the nomination year.

4. The HOTY entries will be grown under normal cultural conditions by duly appointed evaluators and observed over a three-year period. No seedling will be eligible for selection as the HOTY winner until the third year of observation has been completed.

5. It is the responsibility of the invitee to ensure that each evaluator has a grafted plant of the variety under review. Where help is required, the appointed Society Distribution Officer/s will assist. In some instances, evaluators may be prepared to accept wood for grafting to simplify distribution. Evaluators are required not to propagate wood of varieties under review, without the growers written permission.

6. An evaluator is required to grow the variety in his/her garden in view of the security clause in rule 5. The evaluator is required to grow the plant for a minimum of 2 years, so that comparable evaluations may be available.

7. All entrants for HOTY must be grown in Australia, from the seed hybridized in Australia, and a minimum of pod parent (preferably both) named. That fact that a seedling becomes commercially available within the 3 years observation time, or wins a best seedling award at a show, does not exclude it from being known as a seedling and eligible for the HOTY competition.

8. Hibiscus of the Year will be judged from those registered seedlings, which have been observed as per rule 4 above. Once the HOTY winner of a particular year is announced officially, all entrants for that year will go into open categories and will no longer be seedlings. Evaluation sheets will be distributed by the secretary to the evaluators, and the completed evaluation sheets must be in the hands of the secretary of the society by the 28th February each year. The winner will be announced at the annual show.

9. The scoring for HOTY will be carried out by the incumbent President and Secretary of the society, who will have at their disposal the separate evaluation sheets for each of the seedlings that have been under observation for three years. There is only one HOTY award covering single, double and miniature categories. Separate awards in each category will not be made. If at the recommendation of the evaluators it is considered that no seedling is worthy of the title of the HOTY award, then a Highly Recommended Award will be given.

10. All entries chosen for the HOTY competition will earn a certificate for the hybridizer (and also the grower if other than the hybridizer). The winner of HOTY, the hybridizer of the seedling, will receive a suitable trophy and that honor will be shared equally with the grower of the seedling if other than the hybridizer.

I do not know if the AmHS runs their HOTY the same way as we do, but these are the rules that we work under here in Australia. Ruth has been lucky to have hybridized two entrants in the competition, the first was Martha Irene, which was in the 1998 competition, and Tim's Delight which is in the 2003 competition.

Her ambition is win the HOTY trophy, as no woman has won it as yet. To be asked to be entrant in the HOTY competition is an honor, and the flower must have been winning to become eligible for nomination. This is why we have members from each branch on the selection committee, so if a bloom has been winning at a branch, it may not come to the attention of the selection committee if we did not have someone from each branch.





Fishing for the Right Flowers
Landing
the Right Hibiscus
By Gloria White

In Florida, I am lucky to get a variety of hibiscus. Many growers are not as blessed, and acquiring hibiscus flowers for their garden is not just hopping in a car to Home Depot, unless, of course, you want a garden variety.

The flowers growing in my enchanted garden would not be here unless special people were not working hard on a daily basis to hybridize blooms keeping us in beautiful gems of many colors. I always wondered what a hybridizer had in mind or what cv he was hoping to get out of a cross. The Queen of the Tropics manages to keep her allure by being mysterious instead of what you see is what you get. You cross two flowers, and you never know what the result will be. You can end up with a flower close to one of the parents, a mix of the parents or something that looks nothing like the originals.

When I called Joe Ludick, I asked him what he wanted in a cross. He stated right off the bat that he is looking for a brown one with white spots. He said that no one had got this combination before. So Ludick is fishing for a spotted brown one.

Joe Ludick is a retired attorney and former mayor of North Miami, Florida and has been a member of the American Hibiscus Society since the 1960s. He was president of the Bruce Parnell Chapter located in North Dade, Florida. He named a cv after the city he governed, Miss North Miami. A portrait of this flower hangs in the lobby of City Hall.

Ludick became National President of the AmHS in the 1980s. He just finished serving as Chairman of the Charitable Trust for the AHS after 10 years in this position. He has also served on the seedling evaluation committee. His other hobby is fishing - any kind of fishing!

Joe and Roberta Ludick were together for over 60 years until her recent passing in October 2001. He is now a member of the Indian River Chapter in Central Florida and currently resides in Port St. Lucie.One of his creations honors that city with the name of City of Port St. Lucie.

Currently, he grows 45 roses and a few hibiscus on a postage-sized lot. But I have to tell you that over the years Ludick has created over 170 cvs. Looking at a list of his cvs one sees the parents of many show winners, and he has been to the top with Herm Geller winning Hibiscus of the Year in 1988. He came in third place with Mr. Brett in 1983 and Helen Fletcher in 1992.

I asked him to describe a flower of his that I have in my garden named The Beacon. He described the flower as a fuchsia lavender with a white eye. Oh, that sounds nice! I asked him to tell me which was his favorite cv, and he could not come up with one. He did say that Pro Legato is one of the prettiest and best bushes he has ever produced.

With close to 200 cvs named, Ludick can find it difficult to find a favorite. Some of his other beautiful flowers are: Anna Elizabeth, Challenger, Butterscotch Sundae, Double Miniskirt, Eye of the Storm, Great White, Joanne Boulin, Lilly Torbet, Mary Louise, Miss Liberty, Mount Shasta, Old Medley, Aunt Charlotte, Old Liberty, Annie Ackerman, Orange Magic, Prima Ballerina, Topaz Glory, Dirty Harry, David Boulin, Magpie, Miss Ballerina, Eva Paloni, Dakota Rose, Ruth Woodruff and Golden Eagle.

Ludick recommends 6-6-6 and milorganite every 10 days for hibiscus. He told me to be on the watch out for his newest creation, Dubyu, named after President George W. Bush. This particular flower made quite a stir at the Indian River Show. He even gave me a hint where I can find wood nearby. Off I go to see another Wizard!

Two bright blue and gold macaws soared in the mother of pearl gray skies touched by dawn's pink light. The early morning sun hung like a large golden orb on the horizon. As the mysterious flower genie flew in her magic carpet feeling the morning's dew on her face, birds of many colors greeted her with their calls. Flocks of white ibises joined her on her trip over the gently tossing waters of the ocean.

The mysterious flower genie was in search of a rare gem of many colors that she had learned was in the possession of a magical wizard to the north.

On previous travels, the mysterious flower genie had added rare gems to her treasury full of gems but now she searched for the rarest. As the genie landed in the wizard's domain, she was greeted by a bevy of gems she had never seen before. A particular gem was large and the color so ruby red of such clarity that it rivaled the Pasha's fabled Ruby of Mirage. Admiring this gem among all the others, the genie bowed to inspect this ruby gem closely. She was touched on her shoulder gently by the wizard. He gently placed the gem into her hands, and the mysterious flower genie thanked the magical wizard.

From the chronicles of the mysterious flower genie from the peninsula of flowers - Challenger.

Photo by Dick Johnson







Marvellous Mallows

(This series is being compiled by Colleen Keena from Queensland, Australia, Kristin Yanker-Hansen from California, USA, and Marcos Capelini from São Paulo, Brazil. We hope you can share your experiences of growing the featured plants so that we can all learn more about growing mallows in varied locations.)

The California Lavateras and Their Hybrids

In the mallow world the most hybridization has occurred in the rosa-sinensis compatible species. This is probably due to the fact that these plants survive well in pots, and therefore can be grown as houseplants all over the world. There has been work in other species such as H. syriacus, and several of the European Lavateras, Malvas, and Alceas(hollyhocks) but probably due to size, limited color variation, and range of growing areas these are generally limited.

The California Lavateras naturally grow in a very limited range. They are found on the islands of Santa Cruz and Santa Cantalina off the coast of Los Angeles, and then further south off the California Baja peninsula, which is actually in Mexico, on the islands of Guadeloupe, and San Benito.

There are to date three species, Lavatera asurgentiflora, L. venosa, and L. occidentalis. See http://www.malvaceae.info/Genera/Lavatera/californian.html for a map and botanical descriptions.

Lavatera Asurgentiflora

Lavatera Asurgentiflora is the most Northern species found on the islands of Santa Cruz, San Miguel, and Anacapa, with subspecies glabra found on Santa Catalina, and San Clemente. It is claimed to be naturalized in the Santa Monica Mountains.

They must not have deer in those mountains because, as with most mallows, animals love to eat this plant.

However, although Lavatera asurgentiflora comes from the southern, and milder part of California, I have found it to be quite cold hardy, surviving temperatures into the high teens. It is also grown in parts of England.

Lavatera asurgentiflora trunk

The plant is variable in its size, sometimes becoming very tall, but usually averaging between 6 and 8 feet. The trunk can be as much as twelve inches across. The flowers are a deep cerise color, and bloom nearly year round. Flower size is dependant on the weather. In the winter they can get two inches wide, while in the summer, they run closer to one inch.

         Lavatera asurgentiflora bush

They survive the hot and dry inland conditions of the summer, defoliating to protect themselves, but do well with summer water. This is probably due to the foggy belt from which they come. The coast of California is often shrouded in summer fog. In some areas it has provided measurable precipitation of up to 10 inches for the summer season.

Lavatera venosa

Lavatera venosa is the most southern of the three compatible species, coming from the island of San Benito, and naturalized on the Baja peninsula in the area of Vizcalno. This one also seems to handle very cold temperatures, having survived the high teens already in my garden. The flowers are larger than asurgentiflora. They are a purple with pink edging, and deep purple veining. My only plant is more prostrate then asurgentiflora, although it behaves similarly in every other way.

Lavatera venosa leaves

Lavatera occidentalis is the most mysterious of the three. It is found on the island of Guadeloupe, off the cost of Baja. It is supposed to have deep purple flowers although I have never seen it. I have three seedlings, which I am very fearful to plant out because I have been told that it is the most frost tender of the three. The leaves of this one are also more palmate than the other two.

Lavatera occidentalis

Ed Mercurio, a botanist and plant lover who lives in Salinas, California has been playing around with the Lavateras for years. He originally only had L. asurgentiflora, and L venosa, and his hybridizing attempts he felt were uninteresting blendings of these plants.

Ed Mercurio

It was not until he was exploring Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens that he found an unusual seedling of bluish purple. When he asked if he could have a cutting they told him to take the plant, because all the seedlings were crosses, and would be pulled anyway. He only did take a cutting, and from that time, through primarily open pollination came out with numerous variations of the plant. He believes that the original blue color came from the third Lavatera, occidentalis. He also believes that occidentalis is the most tender of all the Lavateras because he has noted that during our big freeze in the early 90's he lost all the bluer hybrids. They returned through seedlings.

 
 

He has a forest of Lavateras in his backyard in the middle of a suburban neighborhood. Since he no longer has time to track these plants, he lets them open pollinate. He has put into the trade a few selections of his hybrids, including Bold Stripes, which is white with purple stripes, and Black Heart, which is a purple with a near black heart. You can see some of the variety descriptions at http://www.smgrowers.com/ under Lavateras. This is the new San Marcos Growers located near Santa Barbara who have been selling some of Ed's hybrids. Also Rancho Santa Ana Botanical gardens in the LA Basin has several varieties with plans to obtain more.

I was fortunate enough to get seed from his garden and would be happy to distribute it to interested members. Since there is some concern now about importing seed to the US, I plan to be the primary distributor of the seed. I will also send seed to Ursula if there is a problem obtaining seed from the States. That way US members can obtain the seed without a problem. Ed has also said that he would be happy to welcome anyone who wishes to come to his garden for cuttings. You can E-Mail him at mercurio@jafar.hartnell.cc.ca.us. If you would like some seed, please EMail me at Yankerhans@hotmail.com.



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