7 Hibiscus schizopetalus

Hibiscus schizopetalus.

In Family Malvaceae the Fringed Rose Mallow or Japanese lantern is native to eastern Africa.
It has also been known as a form and variety of the similar Hibiscus rosa-sinensis.

The evergreen shrubs or small trees are usually seen 2 to 3 m high but they can grow to around 5 m.
The long erect to arching stems are thin and woody.
Young branches have no hairs or a few simple and stellate ones.

The alternate leaves are on a thin petiole up to 3 or 4 cm long.
The grooved upper surface has stellate hairs.
On either side of the base is a deciduous stipule up to 3 mm long sometimes with a few stellate hairs.

The ovate to elliptic leaf blades are up to around 10 cm long and 5 cm wide.
The tip is pointed and the base rounded or wedge-shaped.
There are large teeth on the upper 1/2 to 3/4 of the edge.
New leaves have stellate hairs on both surfaces but mainly the lower, older leaves have a few on the lower surface.
There is a nectary on the base of the midvein on the lower surface.

Inflorescences are a solitary pendulous flower in the leaf axils along the branch ends.
The stalks or pedicels, up to 15 cm long have a joint near the middle and they may have a few hairs.
There may also be a few hairs on the 8, 2 to 3 mm long involucral bracts in the epicalyx.

The green sepals are fused into a tubular calyx around 2 cm long.
It has 2 (to 5) triangular lobes and is split down one side.
It can be smooth or have a few tiny hairs.

The funnel-shaped corolla has 5 petals with their bases fused for a few mms.
The 5 obovate petals, around 6 cm long and 3 cm wide curve out and back.
They are twisted and deeply dissected into many narrow lobes.
Each lobe can be divided once or twice making a fringed edge.
There are a few hairs on the outer surface of the lobes.
Typically the petals are red or pink with white streaks.

The filaments of the numerous stamens are fused into a thin pendulous staminal column.
The pink to red column is up to 10 cm long with 5 short triangular teeth on the end.
Anthers, on the short free ends of the filaments are attached to the upper half of the column.
The basifixed kidney-shaped anthers have yellow pollen with small spikes.

The superior ovary has 5 locules with the ovules having axile placentation.
The pink or red style extends for up to 3 cm past the top of the staminal column.
Each of the 5 branches, around 1 cm long has a pink or red spherical stigma with short hairs.

The fruit are oblong to cylindrical capsules up to 4 cm long and 1.5 cm wide.
They may have minute fine hairs.
The brown kidney-shaped seeds, 2 or 3 mm long may have similar hairs.

This plant is commonly used in creating new cultivars.