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Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'White Wings'
 
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'White Wings' | 'Hibiscus Wrightii' Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'White Wings'

'White Wings' is another old cultivar that has large white flowers (with a dark red center eye) and dark green leaves. Its long floral tube is white and pink with red stigma pads. It forms a large, full bush, growing up to 4.5m in height. It is similar to, and often confused with the cultivar ‘White Versicolor’, which has yellow stigma pads rather than red. Many nurseries have these cultivars mislabeled. In the 1950s and '60s, 'White Wings' was commonly sold in the U.S., but it has become increasingly difficult to find. If you find it, it is worth growing!

Historical Information: 'White Wings' is considered by some to be one of the earliest Hibiscus hybrids or possibly a species form. According to Ross Gast, an American Hibiscus enthusiast in the 1960s, the cultivar known as 'White Wings' in the mainland U.S. is the same as 'Hibiscus Wrightii'. It is also known as narrow-petalled 'Fijian White'. In recent correspondence (2010) with Geoff Harvey of Queensland Australia, Geoff writes: "the original 'White Wings' came from Fiji, but was taken to Hawaii over 100 years ago for use in the early breeding program there. It may not actually be a hybrid, but rather a species or form, along with 'Fiji Island', 'Fijian White' (narrow-petalled 'Fijian White'), 'Fijian Pink', and 'Ruby Rose', found only in Fiji. None of these Hibiscus acquired a botanical description to establish them as official species".

Regarding the name 'Hibiscus Wrightii': William Robert Guilfoyle (Director of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens from 1873-1909), wrote "This I have named 'Hibiscus Wrightii', in honor of Mr. Wright, of Hunter's Hill, Parramatta (New South Wales, Australia) to whom I feel indebted for its discovery, he having visited Pango Bay (Vanuatu), where he saw it some three or four years ago."

 

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