Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hibiscus denisonii

Hibiscus archeri, Hibiscus liliiflorus and
Hibiscus denisonii (light pink flower). 
Hibiscus denisonii

Hibiscus denisonii is considered by some to be a species of section Lilibiscus. Confusion and mystery shroud this plant, but at least the confusion regarding flower color can be put to rest: when blooms first open in the morning they are a pale pink color, but as the day progresses, they fade to white. The leaves themselves are very similar to Hibiscus liliiflorus (a species from the Mascarene Islands), although the flowers are somewhat smaller. 

Ross Gast wrote: Little is known of the origin of this one; it was brought to England by B.S. Williams, English nurseryman, about 1875, and offered by him as a pot plant because the very small plants produced "large creamy white flowers", and modern horticultural literature still refers to it as a white. It was apparently named for William Denison, Governor of New South Wales, at the time the first material was sent to Kew, and the same man who sponsored Dr. Seeman's stay in Fiji. I saw and photographed H. denisonii at Kew a year ago and recorded it in my notes as being a "delicate pink" in color. The color photographs were taken in a poor light but they also show the flower to be pink. Both Paul Weissich and Dr.Y. Tachibana have H. denisonii, and they confirm the fact that it is pink in color, although turning to white late in the day. Honolulu, Hawaii October 24, 1963 Letters to J.W. Staniford 1963-67 from Ross H. Gast