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Hibiscus heterophyllus is a medium to large shrub of open habit, from about 3-6 metres high. The leaves are up to 200 mm long by 100 mm wide and may be linear to oval shaped either entire or 3-lobed. Flowers are large, up to 150 mm in diameter of typical hibiscus shape. In common with most Hibiscus species, the individual flowers last only 1-2 days but new flowers continue to open over a long period, generally from spring through to summer. The blooms are variable in colour and may be white, pink or yellow with a deep red centre. They are followed by hairy seed capsules containing a number of seeds….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
Prefers a well-drained humus rich fertile soil in full sun. Suitable for waterside plantings. This species is not very hardy in Britain, it is unlikely to succeed outdoors even in the mildest areas of the country. However, it might be possible to grow it as a half-hardy annual, to flower in its first year from seed.
Seed – sow early spring in a warm greenhouse. Germination is usually fairly rapid. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If growing them as annuals, plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer and protect them with a frame or cloche until they are growing away well. If hoping to grow them as perennials, then it is better to grow them on in the greenhouse for their first year and to plant them out in early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Overwinter them in a warm greenhouse and plant out after the last expected frosts.
The flower buds can be made into a jam. Other parts of the plant are also edible and have been used by Aboriginal people as a food source.
Leaves and young shoots – raw or cooked. Pleasantly acid. An excellent spinach substitute, the boiled leaves losing their acidity. Flowers and flower buds – raw or cooked. A very mild flavour. Root – it is edible but very fibrousy. Mucilaginous, without very much flavour. The roots of young plants are used.
Not yet known.
Other Uses: The central stem of the plant has a very strong fiber and the bark is easily peeled. It was used to make dilly bags and nets by the Australian Aboriginals, and the settlers used it to make snares and ropes.
Known Hazards: The hairs on the capsules can cause severe skin irritation and need to be handled with care.
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