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