Saturday, July 13, 2013

Hibiscus 'Landersii'

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Landersii' syn. 'Pride of Hankins'
 The term 'heritage variety' is usually applied to old roses which often have an aristocratic French pedigree, however it is also used when referring to this Hibiscus which originated from Florida about 100 years ago. It is one which is close in appearance to the original east Asian species described by Dutchman Hendrick Van Rheede (1636-1691) in his twelve volume Hortus Indicus Malabaricus which was published between 1678 and 1693 in Amsterdam. A team of up to a hundred plant specialists worked on the books and they can now be accessed online thanks to modern technology.
'Landersii' is a very hardy variety and one which is suitable for using as an understock for grafting. The flowers are small, double, ruffled and a cerise pink in colour after they emerge from the tightly furled dark red buds. The bush grows to about 2 metres in height.

Around the same time Van Rheede was compiling his Indian Flora, a Mughal artist was crafting this beautiful gold decorated enamel cup and saucer featuring hibiscus buds in the process of unfurling a single petal. It is now in the Kuwait Museum (Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah ) as part of the al-Sabah Collection. There is an interesting video on YouTube called 'Memory Keeping' from the Museum director Sheikha Hussah Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah, who, with her husband Sheikh Nassar Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah collected more than 30,000 works of art, many pieces of which get loaned out to art institutions in other countries for all to study and enjoy.


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