Hibiscus paramutabilis |
Hardy Chinese Shrub Hibiscus, 庐山芙蓉 (Lu Shan Fu Rong)
Hibiscus paramutabilis is a deciduous Hibiscus with broad green
leaves and large, extremely attractive flowers up to 20cm in
diameter. Although it is similar in both name and appearance to
Hibiscus mutabilis, it is not closely related. Endemic to central
China, this species grows to 2m or more in height, often with
arching canes. It can be found growing at an elevations from
500-1000m in the provinces of Gangxi, Hunan, and Jiangxi. There are
two subspecies recoginzed: Hibiscus paramutabilis var. paramutabilis
(formerly Hibiscus saltuarius) and Hibiscus paramutabilis var.
longipedicellatus. Hibiscus mutabilis blooms from spring into fall
(or until frost), producing flowers over most of the active growing
season. This morning as I write from southern California, it is mid
December. The day is cool and overcast, but there are 2 large
flowers that opened just this morning!
Hibiscus paramutabilis along with Hibiscus syriacus and Hibiscus
sinosyriacus form a group of 3 closely related hardy Hibiscus
species (section Hibiscus) indigenous to China. According to at
least one source, Hibiscus sinosyriacus appears to be genetically
close to Hibiscus paramutabilis, but shows slightly more Hibiscus
Historical Reference: TWO SPECIES OF HIBISCUS FROM CHINA. In
reporting in 1920 on a collection of plants in China I stated (Gent.
Herb. 87) that "two apparently undescribed species of Hibiscus were
taken, and they have been tentatively named, described and
illustrated; but further material is awaited." This material is now
in hand, and the descriptions follow.
Hibiscus paramutabilis, Kuling -a showy broad-headed small tree,
possibly planted. Blume -a tropical shrubby villous plant, probably
belongs to the same group; from the present species it is
distinguished by cordate strongly toothed leaves, long-pedicelled
inclined or pendent flowers, and other characters. I suspect that H.
paramulabilis is not confined to China.
Hibiscus sinosyriacus, Kuling -a stout erect shrub, possibly
planted. In general habit much like Hibiscus syriacus, but differing
markedly in the leaves and the wide calyx-bracts.
Hibiscus syriacus, I took in China at Chikungshan (Hupeh-Honan),
said to have been transplanted from the wild; also in temple grounds
near Kioshan (Honan), supposedly planted.
Liberty Hyde Bailey, Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium
Published by L.H. Bailey Hortorium of the New York State College of
Agriculture & Life Sciences, 192