Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hibiscus Archeri

Hibiscus x archeri | Archer's Hibiscus, Aute à Moorea

Hibiscus Archeri is an old hybrid between Hibiscus rosa sinensis and Hibiscus schizopetalus. Named for A.S. Archer, of Antigua in the Antilles, this striking variety is an upright, fast growing shrub, often grown on its own roots. The 10cm red flowers last for a day.

Historical Reference: Een andere bijzonder krachtig groeiende is Hibiscus rosa-sinensis var. Archeri, een hybride tusschen H. schizopetalus en de gewone kembang sepatoe. De groeiwijze van deze is echter zeer fraai, de plant groeit krachtig hoog op, dan buigen zich de einden der takken waaraan de bloemen komen sierlijk om, deze laatste zijn groot en helderrood, hangen ook aan lange bloemstelen, de bloemblaadj es zijn echter niet diep ingesneden, zooals bij de voorgaande.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Archeri komt het mooiste uit, als zij alleenstaat, krachtig groeiende op een ruim gazon; als dan de bloeiende takken als die van een treurboom naar alle kanten afhangen en de schitterend gekleurde groote bloemen als uit een hoorn des overvloeds komende er overal afhangen is het werkelijk een bijzonder sierlijke en imposante heester. Zooals men weet laten zich de Hibiscussen gemakkelijk oculeeren en daar laatstgenoemde een krachtige groeister is eu zich gemakkelijk laat tjangkokken en stekken, kan zij als onderstam dienen voor de zwak groeiende ver- scheidenheden. Boven noemde ik de mooi bloeiende maar slecht groeiende verscheidenheden van Hibiscus rosa-sinensis liliflorus, waarschijnlijk groeien die beter als zij geënt worden op- laatstgenoemde plant.

Translation: Another particularly vigorous grower is Hibiscus rosa-sinensis var. Archeri, a hybrid between Hibiscus schizopetalus and the ordinary Kembang Sepatu. (Editors Note: in Indonesia hibiscus are called "kembang sepatu", which literally means 'flower of shoes' ―perhaps in reference to the fact that hibiscus flowers were used to shine shoes in places like India) The growth habit is very attractive; the plant grows vigorously high and then at the end of the bending branches are the elegant flowers ―large and bright red, with a long flowering season. The flower petals are not as deeply incised as the previously mentioned (Hibiscus schizopetalus).

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis var. Archeri is more attractive grown alone on a broad lawn; as the flowering branches like that of a weeping tree hang down to all sides, with a cornucopia of beautifully colored flowers, coming from everywhere, hang down. It is really a particularly elegant and impressive shrub. We know that Hibiscus archeri cuttings are easy to root, and it is a strong grower. It can serve as rootstock for the weaker-growing varieties. Above I mentioned the beautiful flowering but poorly growing varieties of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis x liliiflorus, will probably grow better if they are grafted on the latter plant.

   Teysmannia: magazyn van horticultuur en landbouw der tropen
   Published by G. Kolff & Co.,1905

Reference: HYBRIDE. Hibiscus x archeri (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis x schizopetalus) RÉPARTITION: cet hybride a été obtenu dans les Antilles vers la fin du XIXe siècle et a été répandu rapidement dans les régions chaudes, moins abondant que les parents, il est néanmoins présent en Polynésie française avant 1922. — AUSTRALES : Raivavae, Rurutu. – GAMBIER : Mangareva. – MARQUISES : Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Nuku Hiva. – SOCIÉTÉ : Bora Bora, Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa,Tahiti. – TUAMOTU : Makatea. –[COOK : Aitutaki, Rarontonga.].
USAGE: ornementale pour le port, le feuillage et les fleurs ; ces dernières souvent portées comme ornement de chevelure. NOM VERNACULAIRE : Aute à Moorea.

   Flore de la Polynésie française, VOLUME 2
   Publications scientifiques

Translation: HYBRID. Hibiscus x archeri (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis x schizopetalus). DISTRIBUTION: This hybrid was obtained in the Caribbean in the late nineteenth century and has spread rapidly in warm regions. less abundant than the parents, it is still present in French Polynesia before 1922. USES: Ornamental for appearance, the foliage and flowers, the latter often worn as an ornament of hair. VERNACULAR NAME: Aute à Moorea.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Black Beauty'

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Black Beauty'

'Black Beauty' does not quite live up to its name. Although extremely beautiful, the color is more of a deep burgundy-rose color. The flowers are large and attention getting, for this reason alone it is definitely worth growing. But to say the flowers are purple to black is a stretch.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Byron Bay Rose'

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Byron Bay Rose'

Part of The Beach™ Series: Varieties bred for large, showy blooms, named after famous beaches around the world. ‘Byron Bay Rose’ flowers are extremely showy with extra-large, single hot lipstick pink flowers blooming throughout warmer months. Vigorous upright, growth habit. Glossy green leaves on a vigorous, upright shrub to 2m tall and wide.

Named for Byron Bay, a beachside town in New South Wales, Australia. Cape Byron, a headland adjacent to the town, is the easternmost point of mainland Australia. Captain James Cook named Cape Byron after circumnavigator of the world John Byron, grandfather of the poet, Lord Byron.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Dainty White'

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Dainty White' | 'White Swan', 'White Butterfly', White La France

'Dainty White' is a sport of 'Dainty Pink' and is one of the few (perhaps the only) solid white-flowered Hibiscus rosa-sinensis cultivars. It is sometimes (incorrectly) referred to as 'Swan Lake', White Butterfly' or 'White La France'. 'Dainty White' has an upright growth habit but takes well to pruning and shaping and is easily trained into a standard. 'Dainty White' is a vigorous grower on its own roots.

As its name implies, this cultivar has dainty, pure white flowers. It also has long, prominent stamens somewhat reminiscent of Hibiscus arnottianus ssp. immaculatus, which may factor into its heritage. The 3" blooms are held against deep glossy green foliage. The single flowers are classified as 'miniature' by the American Hibiscus Society ―miniatures are those blooms which average five inches or less in size. If permitted to grow to a large size, some branches may display flowers with a lavender pink color (divulging its 'Dainty Pink' genetics). Likewise this pink flowered variation, when grown separately, will often change back to white.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Cooperi'

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Cooperi’ | Checkered Hibiscus, Sir Daniel Cooper's Hibiscus, ‘Snow Queen’

The popularity of ‘Hibiscus Cooperi’ dates back to the Victorian era. ‘Hibiscus Cooperi’ has showy variegated foliage splashed with various combinations of white, pink and green, as well as a compact growth habit. The red flowers appear at the tips of the branches and are up to 10cm inches across. Pinching out tips of stems in spring and summer helps to increase flower production. There are a number of cultivars often associated with ‘Hibiscus Cooperi’. The plant in the photo at left is ‘Snowflake’. There are also other cultivars, like ‘Snow Queen’, ‘Roseflake’ and ‘Hummels Fantasy’― an even more compact cultivar with lots of white variegation in the leaves.

It appears that there may possibly be some confusion regarding the plant most commonly labeled ‘Hibiscus Cooperi’ in the U.S. As compared with some historical images, it is probable that what is now labeled as ‘Roseflake’ (aka ‘Carnival’), may be closer to the historical descriptions and images of ‘Hibiscus Cooperi’.

Historical Information: The history of this plant is somewhat unclear, but based on scattered bits of information, it is possible this may actually be a naturally occurring species (or subspecies of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis). Apparently, back in the late 1800s, the location of this Hibiscus' homeland was in question —three or more historical references list its origin as New Caledonia, others indicate southern Australia. An old German reference says it was discovered by Sir Daniel Cooper in New Caledonia and introduced by him to England. (Neue allgemeine deutsche Garten- und Blumenzeitung, Volume 21, Otto & Mettler,1865). 'Hibiscus Cooperi' is a cold-tender plant, much more so than many other Hibiscus rosa-sinensis cultivars. In my opinion, this lends further support to the claim that it is indigenous to a locale with a more tropical climate than southern Australia (see historical references below).

Historical Reference: Hibiscus Cooperi. Cooper's Hibiscus. (Hibiscus was Virgil's name for the Marsh Mallow.) This is a fine shrub with large scarlet flowers; a native of New Caledonia. The one in Schenley Park is of the variety tricolor. [a. & s.]

   Botanical guide through the Phipps conservatories in Pittsburg and Allegheny
   Gustave Guttenberg
   Printed by Foster, Dick & Co., 1894

Historical Reference: Hibiscus Cooperii, Sir Daniel Cooper's Hibiscus. We cannot be wrong in selecting for a place in this series Hibiscus Cooperii, for it has leaves that are exquisitely beautiful, and in its season it is crowned with gorgeous flowers. he particular subject of this notice is a native of the hottest parts of the Australian continent, where it was first discovered by Sir Daniel Cooper, Bart., of Woollabra, near Sidney, and some time treasurer to the Royal Horticultural Society of London.

The plant is of delicate constitution, but when properly treated grows freely, and is extremely beautiful. The young stems are of a deep red colour, and the footstalks of the leaves, and the stipules that accompany them, are of the same colour. The leaves are lanceolate or elongate-ovate, wedge-shaped at the base, pointed at the apex, irregularly bluntly toothed. They vary considerably in colours, but the prevailingtints are carmine red, with patches of creamy white on the outer parts of the blade, with more or less of light and dark green dappled in the line of the midrib. Numerous as are plants with highly-coloured leaves, we have few that equal this in the abundance and richness of its tones of red. When it flowers, however, surprise must precede admiration, for the flowers are not surpassed in splendour by any other species of this noble family. The flowers usually exceed six inches in diameter; they present no peculiarities of structure, being of the ordinary Hibiscus type, the long narrowish petals being rather widely separated. The colour of the petals is an intense carmine scarlet, but the base of each is blush, which breaks into the scarlet in delicate veins, the centre of the flower being blackish crimson. The plant has at least one defect, and that is extreme shyness in producing flowers: this, however, is a common defect of new plants, owing to their being kept in a constantly growing state, for purposes of propagation. When quite established it will probably flower much more freely than it has done hitherto.

   New and rare beautiful-leaved plants
   Shirley Hibberd
   Published by Bell and Daldy, 1870

Historical Reference: HIBISCUS COOPERI, Le catalogue de M. James Veitch nous apprend que cet arbuste a été rapporté de l'Australie méridionale par sir Daniel Cooper, Bart., et qu'il portera de grandes fleurs rouges. Il aurait été dédié à ce gentilhomme— mais nous ignorons absolument par quel botaniste et nous ne savons dans quel ouvrage il faudrait en puiser la diagnose. Jusqu'à ce que la science ait parlé, nous nous bornerons à dire qu'il nous parait peu probable que la patrie réelle de cette plante soit la Nouvelle-Galles du Sud, au climat àpre; elle dérive, selon toute apparence, de quelque contrée autrement favorisée des dieux, la Nouvelle Calédonie par exemple. Cette supposition est plus fondée que l'assertion hasardée de ces exposants, lesquels à défaut du nom réel de la patrie font venir cet Hibiscus qui du Pérou, qui du Japon, points du monde suffisamment distants de Sydney, où sir Cooper l'a embarqué. Il ne saurait d'ailleurs endurer le climat du Japon.

Nous cultivons l'Hibiscus Coopcri en serre tempérée pendant l'hiver. Durant l'été sa place est en plein air, au grand soleil. On remarquera que notre planche a été faite d'après un bien maigre échantillon; bien taillée, bien menée cl touffue, cette plante produit beaucoup d'effet. Sa multiplication par voie de boutures est aussi facile que celle de la plupart de ses congénères. L. VH.

   Flore des serres et des jardins de l'Europe: annales générales d'horticulture, Volume 15
   L. Van Houtte., 1865

Translation: HIBISCUS COOPERI, The catalog of Mr. James Veitch tells us that this shrub was brought back from South Australia by Sir Daniel Cooper, and that it bears large red flowers. It was dedicated to this gentleman, but we know not by what botanist and we know not which work to draw out the diagnosis. Until science has spoken, we shall simply say that it seems unlikely to us that the real home of this plant is the harsh climate of New South Wales. It derives, apparently, from some otherwise favored land of the gods, New Caledonia, for example. This assumption is more founded than the proposition of these exhibitors, which lacking the actual name of the country this Hibiscus comes from —Peru or Japan, parts of the world distantly remote from Sydney, where Sir Cooper embarked. It also can not endure the climate of Japan.

We grow Hibiscus Cooperi in a temperate glasshouse in winter. During the summer it is placed outdoors in the sun. Note that this illustration was made from a very sparse sample neatly trimmed, acheiving a bushy plant, producing much effect. Its propagation through cuttings is easier than most of its congeners (a member of the same taxonomic genus as another plant or animal). L. VH.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Delores Del Rio'

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Delores Del Rio'

An old cultivar with miniature double flowers. Upon opening flowers are dark, fading to a muted rose with a tinge of lavender.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Elephant Ear'

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Elephant Ear' | 'White Kalakaua'

'Elephant Ear' produces double-form creamy white flowers with faint pink coloration. The petals are ruffled and sometimes contorted. 'Elephant Ear' is a vigorous, fast growing shrub and blooms well over an extended period of time. Also known as 'White Kalakaua'.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Fiji Island’

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Fiji Island’

Although ‘Fiji Island’ is currently regarded as an early Hibiscus rosa-sinensis hybrid, it is considered by some to be a "species type" or "near-species type". Unfortunately, due to a dearth of historical information, we know very little about the origin of this stunning Hibiscus, but it is generally presumed that it originated in Fiji or thereabouts. In recent correspondence (2010) with Geoff Harvey of Queensland Australia, Geoff writes: "It may not actually be a hybrid, but rather a species or form, along with 'White Wings', 'Fijian White', 'Fijian Pink', and 'Ruby Rose', found only in Fiji. None of these Hibiscus acquired a botanical description to establish them as official species".

Whatever the case may be, the appearance of ‘Fiji Island’ is quite different from other rosa-sinensis hybrids. The leaves have finely serrated margins and the flower itself is stunning. Fiji Island has 12cm, single, propeller-shaped blooms with dark pink petals, a darker center, and a prominent staminal column. This beautiful Hibiscus reportedly grows to 3m high, however it has a weeping, spreading habit which means a 3m width is more likely. A prolific bloomer and fast growing. One of my favorites!
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Lillian Wilder'
'Lillian Wilder' is an early Hawaiian hybrid, a cross between 'Beatrice' and what was known as Knudsen White. This beauty is fast growing, often forming a tree to 25 or 30 feet in height. The flower is up to 7 inches wide, delicate pink petals with darker veins and a crimson eye. 'Lillian Wilder' is incorrectly known as 'Apple Blossom' in Australia. 

Note: Early on, Hibiscus arnottianus was hardly ever known by its species name in Hawaii, and is still known as ‘Wilder’s White' in Australia. 'Knudsen White' was more than likely a form of Hibiscus waimeae.

An article in the Society section of the Honolulu Star Bulletin dated January 16th, 1915 stated: Some years ago Mr, Gerrit Wilder, who is sometimes known as the "Hibiscus King", started a special garden at his beautiful home, Ualalaa, and he called his little plot his friends' garden. Here he planted new varieties of the hibiscus and named them after some of Honolulu's society folk. Some of the flowers that have been seen at recent functions are the  "Lillian Wilder, a pale pink blossom which Mr. Wilder named for his wife... 

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Louisiana Flash'

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Louisiana Flash'

''Louisiana Flash' Cajun Hibiscus produces large scarlet-red single flowers with overlapping, gently ruffled edges. The dark center provides extra drama on this easy to grow shrub

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Madame Chiang Kai Shek'

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Madame Chiang Kai Shek'

Large double peach-pink flowers on a shrub that is reported to grow up to towering 9m, but can be kept smaller by pruning. An old favorite recommended for performance, growth habit and flowering.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Painted Lady'

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Painted Lady' | Indian Princess

'Painted Lady' is an unpatented Hibiscus cultivar with single flower form, pink flower color, and a dark red eye. Apparently, the original name was Indian Princess. Reported to have Hibiscus storckii as a parent. I am interested in finding out more about the heritage of this striking variety.

This photo was taken early one morning, before the flower had completely unfurled.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Pride of Hankins'

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Pride of Hankins' | ‘Hibiscus Landersii’

‘Pride of Hankins’ is an old heirloom Hibiscus cultivar originally from Florida, also known as ‘Hibiscus landersii’. It is best known as a proven root stock for grafting hibiscus rosa-sinensis cultivars, since it is easily propagated, is considered resistant to root-rot, and produces an abundant supply of wood for stem cuttings and root stock. Even without these wonderful traits, it is a beautiful cultivar worth growing for the flowers alone.

‘Pride of Hankins’ has glossy, dark green foliage on a dense, well-branched shrub that grows to about 2m tall. It has stunning ruffled, double flowers variously described as cerise-red, dark pink, or fuchsia. ‘Pride of Hankins’ is a prolific bloomer and grows well on its own roots. Although the flowers do not produce much pollen, they are very fertile and pass on the robust traits to offspring.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Thunderhead'

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Thunderhead'

'Thunderhead' produces stunning, large, double lavender-grey flowers on an easy to grow shrub. Highly recommended.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Sprinkle Rain'

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Sprinkle Rain'

'Sprinkle Rain' is classified as a miniature. Miniatures are those blooms which average five inches or less in size. I have not been able to find any information about this beautiful Hibiscus, but it is apparant that it must have Hibiscus schizopetalus in its lineage.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘White Versicolor’

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘White Versicolor’ | ‘Hawaiian Dot’

‘White Versicolor’ is an old cultivar that has large white flowers (with a darker red center) and yellow stigma pads (a slight cream color is sometimes apparent in petals). It is similar to and often confused with the cultivar ‘White Wings’ which has red stigma pads rather than yellow. Many Nurseries have these cultivars mislabeled or confused.

Further adding to the confusion, this cultivar is also known by various names throughout the world. ‘Hawaiian Dot’ appears to be the same as ‘White Versicolor’, and is a name that is sometimes used in the United States. It also appears that the cultivar referred to as ‘Ibiza’ in Spain, could be the same as ‘White Versicolor’ ―further verification is needed. Another old Hawaiian cultivar that appears to be the same, or very close is ‘Ah Pio’ (aka ‘Hibiscus Luteolus-Solitarius’) described in Bulletin No 29 of the Hawaii Agricultural Experiment Station, December 1913. Recent photos from Japan of ‘Ah Pio" appear to be very close, if not identical to ‘White Versicolor’

‘White Versicolor’ is a tough, easy to grow cultivar that bears showy, large, single white flowers with a stunning red center blotch, on a shrub that grows to about 1.5m tall. Highly recommended due to its ease of growth, and stunning flowers.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'White Wings'

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'White Wings' | 'Hibiscus Wrightii'

'White Wings' is another old cultivar that has large white flowers (with a dark red center eye) and dark green leaves. Its long floral tube is white and pink with red stigma pads. It forms a large, full bush, growing up to 4.5m in height. It is similar to, and often confused with the cultivar ‘White Versicolor’, which has yellow stigma pads rather than red. Many nurseries have these cultivars mislabeled. In the 1950s and '60s, 'White Wings' was commonly sold in the U.S., but it has become increasingly difficult to find. If you find it, it is worth growing!

Historical Information: 'White Wings' is considered by some to be one of the earliest Hibiscus hybrids or possibly a species form. According to Ross Gast, an American Hibiscus enthusiast in the 1960s, the cultivar known as 'White Wings' in the mainland U.S. is the same as 'Hibiscus Wrightii'. It is also known as narrow-petalled 'Fijian White'. In recent correspondence (2010) with Geoff Harvey of Queensland Australia, Geoff writes: "the original 'White Wings' came from Fiji, but was taken to Hawaii over 100 years ago for use in the early breeding program there. It may not actually be a hybrid, but rather a species or form, along with 'Fiji Island', 'Fijian White' (narrow-petalled 'Fijian White'), 'Fijian Pink', and 'Ruby Rose', found only in Fiji. None of these Hibiscus acquired a botanical description to establish them as official species".

Regarding the name 'Hibiscus Wrightii': William Robert Guilfoyle (Director of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens from 1873-1909), wrote "This I have named 'Hibiscus Wrightii', in honor of Mr. Wright, of Hunter's Hill, Parramatta (New South Wales, Australia) to whom I feel indebted for its discovery, he having visited Pango Bay (Vanuatu), where he saw it some three or four years ago."

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hibiscus storckii

Hibiscus storckii | Storck's Hibiscus, Sequelu, Aute Tonga

This mysterious species was discovered in 1860 by botanists Dr. Berthold Seemann and Jacob Storck on the Fijian island of Taveuni. In Seeman's "Flora Vitiensis", published in 1865, it was described as a low-growing shrub with pink flowers. Jacob Storck, a German, settled in Fiji and kept a collection of plants from this archipelago. In 1963, an American botanist, Ross Gast, traveled to Fiji but found no trace of Hibiscus storkii, which has since been declared extinct in the wild. Fortunately, Jacob Storck distributed some of his specimens, and it is believed (by some) that this gorgeous hibiscus survived in several collections of various botanical gardens in Europe as well as Australia. There are still doubts however concerning this species authenticity —some botanists maintaining that it is simply a form of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. In 1941, Skovsted theorized that Hibiscus storckii, is actually a primitive form of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (A. Skovsted, a Danish cytologist, made a chromosome count of the species which is reported in "Chromosome Atlas of Flowering Plants" by Darlington and Wiley). To further muddy the waters, some claim that another elusive species, Hibiscus denisonii is actually the same as Hibiscus storckii. Whatever the case, the plant we label today as Hibiscus storckii has definite ornamental value.

Historical Reference: H. (Ketmia) Storckii. Nomen vernac -Sequelu. Somosomo, Island of Taviuni, growing as underwood like the allied Hibiscus Genevii, Bojer; rare. This is closely allied to Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, but I think sufficiently distinct to entitle it to the rank of species. Unfortunately my specimens are not so complete as could be wished, and so prevent a thorough comparison with its nearest ally. I have never seen it cultivated; it is a more straggling shrub than H. rosa-sinensis. The leaves are always more elliptical and less deeply cut on the margin, the segments of the calyx are also somewhat differently shaped, and I have never observed a variety of H. rosa-sinensis with such fine pink-coloured petals. I have named it in honour of my able assistant, Mr. J. Storck, who was with me when we first found it.

   By Berthold Seemann, PH.D., Published 1865

Monday, December 1, 2008

(unknown pink)

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (unknown pink)

If you happen to know what this variety is, please send a message via the contact page.