Wild Hibiscus

© Roger de la Harpe

Name

Wild Hibiscus (Hibiscus engleri)

Description

The wild hibiscus is a small tree or bush that blooms during summer. The colour of the flowers vary from yellow to pink and have a darker centre in its cup-shape, where the stamens and stigmas join to form a stalk. These flowers are very dainty - fresh ones open each morning and wilt after a day. They are unevenly located on thin stalks along the plant’s branches. Its leaves are hairy, lobed and have jagged edges.

The wild hibiscus is characterised by its five large petals and branch formation, and is one of many hibiscus types with yellow flowers classified as such. Certain hibiscus plants are considered invasive weeds in some countries.

Wild Hibiscus Seed

The hibiscus is related to the cotton plant. Similarly, the seeds of some hibiscus species have a tuft of soft hairs.

Wild Hibiscus Habitat

The hibiscus genus is widespread across Africa, and prefers savannas and dense bush as its habitat.

Field Notes

In South Africa, there are more than 50 species of hibiscus growing in various different habitats. Many insects, including butterflies and bees, are drawn to its flowers and in turn attract birds, which prey on these insects.