Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pavonia candida

Pavonia candida | White Pavonia, Pavonie Blanche, Lirio

Pavonia candida is a large shrub from central Mexico (found in Coahuila, Queretaro, Jalisco, and Michoacan). It has previously been known as Malvaviscus candidus and Malvaviscus pringlei. It grows to 6m high, with showy white flowers that bloom from July to October in its native Central America. The mildly fragrant blooms have a pronounced staminal column that rivals that of hibiscus arnottianus in size. It is not uncommon for two buds to appear at branch tips, and open at the same time, (as seen in the photo below). Although it has potential as an ornamental, the species is scarce in its natural range and is vulnerable to extinction. Like all Pavonia, the fruit has five mericarps, in this case each mericarp is hard (woody, almost bony), so that a hammer is needed to crack it to remove the single seed. The common name "Lirio" (Lily) originates from Sinaloa, in reference to the pure white blooms resemblance to a lily.

Reference: Lirio (Malvaviscus candidus o Malvaviscus grandiflorus). Procedencia: Se cultiva en macetas en los patios de las casas de Santa Ana y florea todo el tiempo.

Translation: Lirio (Malvaviscus candidus o Malvaviscus grandiflorus). Origin: It is grown in pots in the courtyards of the houses in Santa Ana where it is always blooming.

  Conocimientos y prácticas médicas en una comunidad campesina
  Patricia Palacios de Westendarp
  Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, 1986

Historical Reference: Malvaviscus pringlei. A shrub fully 6m high; with leaves 15 to 18cm long; flowers very large and showy; petals 7.5cm long, white; stamen tubes nearly 15cm long, extending fully 7.5cm beyond the petals. Collected along a garden fence in a little village between Monte Escobedo, Zacatecas, and Colotlan, Jalisco, August 28, 1897. This very showy plant has only once before been collected, and then from the state of Michoacan. I saw only a single plant, and supposed at the time it had been planted, as it was growing on the edge of a garden. I have partly characterized the plants as above in order to bring out certain unpublished characters, as well as to show that the size of the flowers and leaves is even greater than was at first supposed. This is by far the most showy plant of the geuns which I have yet seen from Mexico.

   Contributions from the United States National Herbarium, Volume 30, Issue 1
   United States. Dept. of Agriculture
   Government Printing Office, 1901