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11. Varieties of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

The interest in hibiscus, and the ease of hybridising these plants has led to a vast number of named cultivars. To list all of these hybrids with descriptions would require a book similar in length to an encyclopedia. In Hawaii during the 1920s there were over 3000 named varieties, but many of these have now been culled out as new, better varieties have been produced. Today, there are many beautiful cultivars and we have selected what we believe to be the best to include in this catalogue.

Terms and Definitions

The descriptions are based on growth in a normal garden situation using the cultural practices recommended.

Variety or Cultivar Name
The names used in this catalogue are either the names registered with the American or Australian Hibiscus Society, or the names accepted within the nursery industries in those countries and in general use. It may be noted here that several varieties are known by different names in different places, a legacy of days gone by before the hibiscus societies became active. In these cases we have included both names.

Colour Description
The colour descriptions have been written with simplicity in mind. They are not precise descriptions, but have been drawn up so that you can quickly and easily determine the basic colour of the bloom, during the main flowering period.

Bloom Size
The bloom sizes listed below are indicative of the size of blooms produced on plants grown in a normal garden with regular watering, fertilising and spraying during the flowering season.
Miniature: under 10 cm (4 in)
Medium: 10 15 cm (4 6 in)
Large: 15 20 cm (6 8 in)
Extra Large: 20 cm (8 in) and over

Blooming abilities
Prolific:   Produces a regular supply of blooms in large quantities.
Good :   Produces a regular supply of blooms in rewarding quantities.
Fair:   Produces a reasonable supply of blooms, however not noted for its blooming abilities.
Poor:   Blooms in limited quantities.

Bloom Description
Ruffled:   Frilly, ruffled edges on petals.
Tufted:    Small upstanding creases on inside edge of petals.
Crested:   This refers to the petaloids that occur on the style tip of some single and semi double blooms.
Crippled:    This term refers to a bloom that will occasionally have a wide separation in some of the base petals thus interrupting their symmetry.
Self Coloured:    Means simply that the portion of the bloom referred to is the same as the main colour of that bloom.
Eye:    The part of the bloom at the base of the petals.
Zone:    The area adjacent to the eye portion.
Halo:    Small band between the eye zone and petals.
Stigma Pads:    The five small velvety, coloured pads on the tip of the staminal column which receive pollen to produce seed.
Staminal Column:    The long thin column extending from the centre of the bloom with anthers and stigma pads. In doubles this part may not be entire.
Overlay:    Refers to colour that appears to be laid over another more prominent colour.
Overlapped:    Petals overlap one another.
Recurved:   The outer edges of the petals curve backwards.
Texture:    This is the relative thickness of the bloom.

Bloom Life
Hybridisers in recent years have improved the texture of blooms in many of the modern varieties, and hence have increased the life of the bloom, both on and off the bush. Where this feature of a variety is significant the term two or three day bloom is used.

Height of Bushes
The heights listed opposite describe the adult height of the variety when grown under normal garden conditions with annual pruning.
Low:    Under 1.2 m (4 ft)
Average:   1.2 - 2.2 m (4 - 7 ft)
Tall:    2.2 - 3.2 m (7 - 10 ft)
Very Tall:    Above 3.2 m (10 ft)

This description indicates that the growth habit and blooming abilities of the variety are greatly improved by grafting onto a hardy rootstock. Many hibiscus benefit from grafting.

Flower Types
There are nine main types of hibiscus blossoms, with many variations of these nine types. Even on the same bush at the same time there maybe a variation in shape and colouring. Here are the characteristic types:
1. Cartwheel overlap single:   Petals are completely overlapped to tips giving a regular, circular appearance. Texture is apt to be heavily veined, ruffly and heavy. A strong sturdy flower.
Examples: `Annie Wood', `Nathan Charles', `Ross Estey'.
2. Regular single:   The petals are separated for less than half the distance from the edge, giving a regular, scalloped appearance. Most singles fall into this type. Petals may be partly overlapped, ruffled, funnel shaped, flat or reflexed.
Examples: `Dawn', `Delight', `Scarlet Giant'.
3. Windmill single:   Petals are narrow and separated for nearly their entire lengths. Texture is usually light and thin.
Examples: `Fantasia' (`Dainty Pink'), `Rose Scott', `Wrightii'.
4. Fringed single:   Edges of petals are split and fringed. Staminal column long and pendulous.
Examples: `Andersonii', 'Sylvia Goodman', H. schizopetalus and its hybrids.
5. Crested single:   Basic type may be any of the above, but the normal bloom exhibits petaloids on the end of the staminal column forming a perfect crest. `Crest' can refer either to the little petaloids that occur on the style tip of a single bloom, or to the secondary petals on a semi double or double bloom.
Examples: `El Capitolio', `Katy D'.
6. Crested semi double:  Loose double appearance, with petaloids arising from staminal column. Stigma usually present.
Examples: `Crown of Warringah', `Lady Adele'.
7. Cup and saucer:   Outside guard petals follow single form. Centre tuft, or petaloids all arise from centre and are distinctly separated from guard petals.
Examples: `Lord of the Isles' (`Daffodil'), 'Marjorie Beard', `Prince of Orange'.
8. Semi-double:   Loose petal formation with a few petals that may be twisted or quilted. All petaloids form from the base of the bloom. Staminal column may be missing.
Examples: 'Isobel Beard', `Cile Tinney', 'Rai Wha'.
9. Full double:   Many petals and petaloids in a tight formation, giving a full ball shaped appearance. Staminal column usually missing. Examples: `King Kalakaua', `Mrs George Davis' ('Kona'), `Peachblow'.

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