Common Name: Coast (or Coastal) Cottonwood, Native Hibiscus.
Etymology: Hibiscus: from the ancient Greek word ἱβίσκος (hibískos), which was the name Pedanius Dioscorides (40–90 AD, physician, pharmacologist and botanist) gave to Althaea officinalis. tiliaceus: Latin – Tilia – resembling Linden tree.
Origin: Native to Malaysia, Indonesia and East Coast to Northern Australia. Naturalized in Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Description: Evergreen rounded tree. May reach 9m with widespread canopy. When exposed to salt laden winds growth becomes congested.
Foliage: Alternate, simple, broadly orbicular with seven prominent veins beneath. Dull green above to bluish white tomentose below.
Bark: Rough, grey, cork-like bark.
Flowers: Either solitary or in loose clusters. Flower opens to almost rotate – up to 12cm across. Bright, light yellow with central crimson eye. Colour changes to rusty apricot before falling sporadically.
Fruit: Calyx and epicalyx persistent, both stellate hairy. Capsules oblong to globose about 2.5 cm long. densely hairy on the outer surface. Seeds surface marked by lines of tubercles.
Growth Requirements: Grows naturally along sub-tropical coast lines, edges of mangroves and Rivers but can also grow in altitudes up to 800m.
Uses: Coastal gardens, waterlogged soils, wind break, sandy soils, park shade tree, clipped to shrub. More traditional and other uses include sea-craft construction, wood carvings, firewood, rope, bark and roots can be boiled to make tea for fevers. It is also used in Asian countries for Bonsai.
Maintenance: Keep well watered to establish a root system when young. Very little maintenance is required after that except pruning for shape.
Propagation: easily grown from seed or cutting with rapid growth.