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Magnificent Malvaceae, Part 1

July 28, 2010

It’s Hibiscus time – causing many a longing sigh as I remember gardens we no longer have, and the Hibiscuses there. It’s hollyhock and Abutilon and mallow time, too, so you get a post two posts on the Malvaceae, the mallow family. I had planned this as one post, but as it turned out, there are far too many of them – maybe I should have called this post ‘Mad Masses of Malvaceae‘ instead! In any case, you get all the Hibiscuses today, and the rest… tomorrow, probably.

Most of what I see blooming is Hibiscus syriacus, Rose of Sharon or Shrub Althea:

'Snowdrift'

There are other Hibiscuses, too.

According to the tag, this is H. paramutabilis, although I’m not too sure I believe that, since my trusted ‘Zander Dictionary of Plant Names’ claims it isn’t hardy here (but then again, it also lists H. syriacus as only hardy to zone 7… tell that to the plants growing quite happily here in zone 6), but the leaves are definitely different from H. syriacus, even if the flowers are very similar.

During my stroll around the garden centre, I saw some Swamp Rose Mallow, Hibiscus moscheutos (with the name misspelled on the tag – all right, my instinct would also be to spell it ‘moschatus‘, but for heaven’s sake, check your spelling before you print the tags!) – gorgeous plants, with those huge flowers, but I’m not sure I’d buy one even if I had the garden to plant it, since they’re only borderline hardy here.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Chinese Hibiscus, are everywhere, too, although I don’t seem to have any recent pictures. Not that you’d know I’m cheating by using a picture from 2008 if I didn’t tell you. But I’m just too honest for my own good.

In the greenhouses of the botanical garden, a few elegant flowers are hanging down from the greenery above: Hibiscus schizopetalus, the Coral or Japanese Hibiscus:

Another old picture for our only native European Hibiscus, H. trionum or Flower-of-an-Hour, which I haven’t actually seen this year, but which I’m sure is blooming again now (what did I tell you about my honesty?) In comparison to the shrubby other species, this one is an annual, and rather rare where I live, while growing as a weed in Southern Europe.

And with that, it seems I have finally run out of Hibiscuses.

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