malvales

Fallen flowers of Brachychiton tree on rainforest floor, Australia | ©Bruce Thomson  (Bunya Mountains, Queensland, Australia - 2007)

Most of the 30 odd species of the genus Brachychiton (Malvaceae) are endemic to Australia. They produce stunning sprays or clusters of colourful blooms, often on bare branches before the new foliage appears. The trunks are shapely and sometimes swollen.

Large, boat-shaped woody seed capsules appear after flowering is finished. These trees are very popular as ornamental specimens and are often seen in parks or gracing suburban streets. Most of the species are favored by birds. 

Reference: [1]

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Dixie Rose, Hibiscus mutabilis.

The house we rent was built in the late 30s. It wouldn’t surprise me if this hibiscus was planted soon after. When we moved in, it was rotted, with poor, sickly growth and only a few blooms over the year. It has been pruned, well-watered and fed with compost and sheep manure and this year we have a few beautifully big blooms like this one.

Tree Mallow - Malva assurgentiflora

Formerly named Lavatera assurgentiflora and now Malva assurgentiflora (Malvales - Malvaceae), the Tree Mallow is a perennial shrub or small tree endemic to the Channel Islands off the coast of California. It has showy flowers with five petals and numerous stamens (male) fused around pistil (female). Flowers are a host plant and a nectar provider for butterflies.

Photo credit: ©Philip Bouchard (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) | Locality: Shoreline Park in Mountain View, California, US (2009)

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

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A very old Looking-glass Tree - Heritiera littoralis

This amazing tree is a 400 year old mangrove belonging to the species Heritiera littoralis (Malvales - Sterculiaceae). 

H. littoralis is a much branched, untidy tree, up to 25 m tall, whose bole up to 60 cm in diameter, is often twisted and stunted, and has thin, wavy and ribbon-like buttresses, often extending far out.

The species occurs along the coast of eastern Africa from Kenya through Tanzania to Mozambique, in the Indian Ocean islands, tropical Asia, tropical Australia, Hawaii and New Caledonia. It does not occur wild in Réunion and Mauritius, but has been introduced there.

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©jay-ar images | Locality: Iriomote, Okinawa, Japan (2013)

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Pink Ball Tree

beautiful pink flowers of Dombeya wallichii (Malvaceae), commonly known as Pink Ball Tree, and Tropical Hydrangea, because of the fragrant, showy, clusters of pink ball flowers that hang from the branches during the fall and winter.

This is a fast growing small- to medium-size tree or large shrub with attractive large heart shaped velvety leaves. As a tree it can grow from 15-30 feet in height but it can be kept smaller with judicious trimming.

Dombeya wallichii originates from India, East Africa and Madagascar.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©ashitaka

Locality: unknown (Japan)

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