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Common Names: Swamp Hibiscus
Habitat : It occurs in tropical Africa, New Guinea, the Philippines, many Pacific Islands, Central and South America, the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Norfolk Island as well as the states of New South Wales and Queensland in Australia. There is disagreement over its native range. Some sources consider it native only to Africa, and naturalised elsewhere; but it is considered a native in New Zealand and Australia
It is found in low, swampy areas; in Africa it may occur inland or near the coast, but in all other continents it occurs only in coastal areas. This distribution, together with genomic evidence, suggests that it originated in Africa, and colonised the other continents through long-range salt-water dispersal.
Hibiscus diversifolius is a deciduous Shrub. It is a widespread species of hibiscus. It grows to between 1 and 2 metres in height, with prickly stems and yellow flowers with a maroon basal spot during spring summer.
The stems have many short prickles.
The leaves near the ends of the stems can be undivided and the lower leaves can have either three or five lobes, but the lobing is only shallow. The leaf margins are irregularly toothed. The leaf surfaces are rough to touch because of the short, stiff, bristle-like hairs.
The flowers are pale yellow with purple centres.
Flowers are carried in arching terminal sprays and are held facing the ground. Blooms are produced in the warmer months.
The calyx is covered with stiff bristles and the nectary is conspicuous.
The seed pod is also covered with rigid bristly hairs.
It is frost tender. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.
Prefers a well-drained humus rich fertile soil in full sun. A frost-tender shrub, it can be grown as an annual in temperate climates where it can flower and set seed in its first year of growth. Plants can also be overwintered in a cold greenhouse if the winter is fairly mild. As the specific name of this plant suggests, the leaves vary widely in shape. The first leaves to be produced are semi-circular in shape, but later leaves are distinctly three-lobed. Plants are self-fertile.
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. The seed germinates inside 2 weeks and should be potted up into individual pots as soon as it is large enough to handle. Grow the plants on fast in a fairly rich compost and plant them out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. These will be difficult to overwinter unless kept in heated environment.
Young leaf buds – they are good either raw or cooked. The young leaves can also be eaten, they are mild and quite mucilaginous, making a pleasant addition to the salad bowl. Flowers – raw or cooked with other foods. They have a very mild flavour and are very mucilaginous. They make a very acceptable and beautiful addition to the salad bowl. Root – it is edible but very fibrousy. Mucilaginous, without very much flavour.
Known Hazards: Some caution should be observed when using this plant because there is a report that it might be used to procure abortions. No further details are found.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
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