Herbs, shrubs, or trees. Leaves often lobed. Flowers very large and showy, variously coloured, usually with a dark-coloured spot at the base of each petal. Involucel of many (rarely 4 or 5) more or less united bracts. This differs from all the preceding genera in the staminal column not being antheriferous to the top, and in the 5-celled fruit having more than one seed in each cell, and other particulars. Species very numerous, chiefly from the tropics. The Latin name for a plant of this order.

1. H. Trionum, syn. H. Africanus. - A hispid branched annual, woody at the base. Leaves cordate, palmately lobed, lobes linear. Involucel bracts many, bristly. Flowers yellow with a purple centre. A very widely distributed plant, occurring in Asia, Australia, North and South Africa, and South of Europe.

8 Hibiscus 90

Fig 54. Hibiscus roseus. (1/4 nat. size.)

Fig. 55. Hibiscus Syriaeus. (1/4 nat. size.)

Fig. 55. Hibiscus Syriaeus. (1/4 nat. size.)

2. H. roseus (fig. 54). - This, with its varieties militaris and palustris, is a native of North America; but in consequence of its having become naturalised in the neighbourhood of Bordeaux it is quoted as a native of France in many English books. It is a tall herbaceous perennial with enormous blossoms either purple or pink with a darker centre, appearing in August.

3. H. Syriacus (fig. 55), syn. Althaea frutex. - A deciduous shrub, 6 to 8 feet high, with alternate 3-lobed toothed leaves and axillary flowers. There are many varieties, both single-and double-flowered, white, yellow, rose, purple, violet, and striped, with a darker coloured spot at the base of each petal. A desirable shrub, on account of its showy flowers being produced towards the end of Summer or beginning of Autumn.