Thursday, December 03, 2009

Hibiscus splendens

Hibiscus splendens | Hollyhock Tree, Pink Hibiscus

Hibiscus splendens is a large shrub or small tree to 7m. Leaves are covered with a dense velvety texture. The large 3-5 lobed leaves often become simple and narrower toward the top of the plant. Large 20cm blooms are produced in spring and summer. These blooms are soft rose to pale pink with crimson coloring at the base of the petals. The wine-colored anthers and stigmas combine to produce an exquisite flower, hence the name 'splendens' from the latin splendidus (splendid or bright). Hibiscus splendens is grown by many Australian native plant enthusiasts, but it deserves greater popularity since it is an attractive, adaptable species, easily grown in a range of soils and climates, as long as it is sheltered from strong winds. This species naturally occurs in deep gullies and gorges with rich fertile well-drained soil, and can tolerate semi-shaded situations. Hibiscus splendens can be grown from seed sown in spring, or by cuttings taken in autumn.

Historical information: Charles Fraser, the colonial botanist who first found the plant in 1828 and sent seed to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh, wrote: 'This I consider King of all Australian plants I have seen. The flowers are the most delicate pink and crimson and literally cover the plant'.