Evergreen to semi-deciduous tree to 10 m or more tall. Bark of mature trees layered and with a lace-like pattern. Branchlets thin, grooved. Leaves mostly 8-14 cm long, 4-6 cm wide, broadly ovate to d-shaped, deeply and doubly toothed, leathery, long-pointed. Leaf stalk thin to 2 cm long. Flowers about 2.5 cm wide sometimes solitary or in clusters of 5-10 flowers, the flower stalks about 1 cm long; petals white; autumn. Fruits mostly 5, flattened, 5-7 mm long with wide wings.
Grows naturally on the North Island in coastal and lowland forests.
The bark supplies a fibre and the wood is used as a commercial timber that has local medicinal uses.
VIC: Mt. Macedon ('Alton').
H. sexstylosa Colenso differs in being more hairy, with flowers less than 2 cm wide in clusters of 2-5; carpels 6-7.
Source: (1997). Hibiscus. In: . 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.
Leaves with creamy-white margins.
Originated as a sport of 'Variegata' in Duncan and Davies Nursery, New Plymouth, New Zealand.
Leaves with a central yellowish, pale-green, mosaic blotch.
Originated pre 1926, and sometimes sold as 'Aurea Variegata'.