Hibiscus tiliaceus L.


Small to large densely foliaged tree. Leaves more or less entire, ovate to cordate, 6-18 cm long with an abrupt point at the tip, lower surface with covering of star-shaped hairs. Epicalyx segments united to form a cup. Flowers hanging down, the sepals 2-2.5 cm long, petals 6-7 cm long, yellow with a crimson throat but turning to apricot or orange before falling. Fruit capsule densely hairy.

Australasia, Asia, Americas. Widespread throughout the tropics

The leaves are reminiscent of Tilia, Linden, hence the specific epithet, while the flowers are similar to those of Cotton (Gossypium) hence the common name.

The source of fibre used in ropes, mats etc. The wood is used for timber.


var. glaber

Japan (Okinawa Islands)

Evergreen branching shrub or small tree 3-4 m or so tall. Leaves ovate-cordate to cordate, 10-16 cm long, entire, alternate, deep green. Flowers produced in short clusters. Sepals 2-2.5 cm long. Petals 5-7 cm long, apricot-gold (turning orange when dry) with a purplish spot at the base. [H. glaber Nikai]

There is a purplish-brown foliaged form which is more widely grown than the green form-both are salt-tolerant and grow well on the coast.

Source: Beers, L.; Spencer, R. (1997). Hibiscus. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

Distribution map
kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Rosanae
order      Malvales
family       Malvaceae
genus        Hibiscus L.