Hibiscus.JPG (30802 bytes)Hibiscus heterophyllus: is a member of the Malvaceae family. We are probably more familiar with the exotic Hibiscus species that have been subjected to decades of breeding and hybridizing than native varieties. Australia is home to about 35 species. Perhaps, in the future, some of these native species will be included in breeding programmes. Hibiscus heterophyllus is known as the Native Rosella, not to be confused with the common name of some Australian parrots.  Hibiscus heterophyllus is a shrub or small tree with prickly stems. The leaves are either ovate or 3-5 lobed with a few hooked spines on the lower surface. The flowers are about 15 centimetres across and may be white, pink, pale or bright yellow. The flowers also a have a basal purple spot. The flowering period extends form from July to April. Prune after flowering to prevent the plants becoming straggly.
Hibiscus heterophyllus occurs in New South Wales and Queensland, usually in moist situations in open forest. The species is widely cultivated and was introduced into England in 1803.
The specimen illustrated was photographed in Carnarvon Gorge in July 2004. The bright yellow flowers light up the surrounding bushland.
Propagation is from seed or cuttings. Selected and interesting forms should be propagated from cuttings to maintain the desirable characteristics.
The species name means having different leaves.
PLEASE NOTE:  Hibiscus heterophyllus may cause irritation to people with sensitive skin.