Sunday, November 08, 2009

Alyogyne cuneiformis

Alyogyne cuneiformis | Coastal Hibiscus, White Alyogyne

The Coastal Hibiscus (not to be confused with Talipariti tileaceum) is a medium sized shrub from the coastal areas of Western Australia (Carnarvon region). The tubular flowers are 6cm long, and white with a dark red center. Leaves are thick and glabrous, composed of 3 spoon-shaped lobes. In its natural range Alyogyne cuneiformis can be found in red sandy soils, limestone outcrops, and coastal plains and dunes.

The flower is similar in size and shape to those of Alyogyne hakeifolia (funnel-shaped). In California, this species seems to prefer a shadier/ moister location as compared to the other Alyogyne species.

Historical Reference:Fugosia Cuneiformis. Cuneate-leaved Fugosia. A rare and little-known West Australian species of Fugosia, a genus, as observed by Bentham and Hooker fil., very nearly allied on the one hand to Hibiscus, on the other to Gossypium; differing from the former chiefly in the style, from the latter in the bracteoles. The present species seems to have been discovered in Dirk Hartog's Island by Allan Cunningham, who gave it a manuscript name implying that it had a goat-like odour. Milne, during the voyage of Captain Denham in H.M.S. Herald, found it in the same island, and remarks that it is a seashore plant (as indeed might be expected from its very thick and fleshy leaves), and it is from seeds sent by him in 1856 that our present plants were raised, and which flowered in August of 1863. It is, however, not now for the first time cultivated at Kew, for we have had for very many years in our Herbarium a specimen derived from these Gardens; no doubt introduced by the indefatigable Allan Cunningham. Our Herbarium also contains a specimen from a small island in Sharks' Bay, West Australia, from G. Sandford, Esq.

Description: A much branching and very woody shrub, with copious oblanceolate or spathulate, rather than cuneiform leaves, thick and fleshy, readily breaking off in the dry state. Flowers large, axillary, solitary; the peduncles clavate; the calyx leafy, downy; the petals broadly obovate, pure white, with a deep blood-coloured spot at the base. Anthers also blood-coloured, beautifully arranged in whorls, as in the Hibiscus Huegelii (given in our last number, Tab. 5406); and the style and stigmas, erect and connivent, are the same as in H. Huegelii, from which this seems hardly generically distinct.

   Curtis's botanical magazine
   By William Jackson Hooker, David Prain, Otto Stapf, Royal Horticultural Society
   Published by Reeve Brothers, 1863