Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sea Hibiscus

Its botanical name is "Hibiscus tiliaceus", a species of flowering tree in the mallow family, Malvaceae, that is native to the Old World tropics. It is a common coastal plant in Eastern and Northern Australia, Oceania and Southeast Asia. The common names include Sea Hibiscus, Beach Hibiscus, Coastal Hibiscus etc.
This is a very common tree, often seen on many of our wild shores or planted in our seaside parks in Singapore. The tree can grow up to 15m height, the big leaves is about 10-15cm in heart-shaped, dark green and shiny above, white and finely furry beneath. The leaves have tiny slits on the main veins on the underside of the leaf. Secretions from these slits often attracts ants. I believe it attracts many other insects too, often seen the leaves are 'broken heart".

The flower is just like common hibiscus flower, yellow with maroon eye fading to dull pink after falling. It looms in the morning after the sunrise and close in the afternoon. The petals usually fall off the same evening or the next morning. Usually, every flower sets fruit. Fruit ripens to a tiny dry capsules (2-3cm) surrounded by the calyx. It splits open to reveal the seeds which float and can withstand extended periods of immersion in sea water.

No comments: