Hibiscus section Lilibiscus

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Introduction

Section Lilibiscus is a small section of the genus Hibiscus, which is nested in section Bombicella, where Hibiscus peralbus may be the sister group. It contains around 10 species, native to the Indian and Pacific Ocean areas.

Species

The origin of the best known species of the section, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, is unclear. It grows wild in many regions, including China and India, but may be an escape from cultivation. It may be a cultigen, and a compilospecies - many cultivated forms include other species of the section in their ancestry. Cultivars are numerous - possibly exceeding 10,000.

The other species are Hibiscus schizopetalus from East Africa, Hibiscus cameronii from Madagascar, Hibiscus boryanus from Mauritius and Reunion, Hibiscus fragilis from Reunion, Hibiscus liliiflorus from Mauritius and Rodriguez, Hibiscus denisonii and Hibiscus storckii from Fiji, and Hibiscus arnottianus, Hibiscus kokio and Hibiscus waimeae from Hawaii.

The hybrid between Hibiscus rosa-sinensis and Hibiscus schizosepalus is known as Hibiscus ×archeri.

A wide variety of chromosome counts have been reported from Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (36, 38, 40, 44, 46, 52, 63, 70, 76, 84, 90, 92, 118, 132, 144), so it is possible that cryptic species are present. The hybrid Hibiscus ×archeri is reported to have a chromosome count of 84, Hibiscus schizopetalus one of 42, Hibiscus denisonii 84 or 168, Hibiscus arnottianus 80 or 84, and Hibiscus kokio 82 or 84. It may be the case that the base chromosome number of the section is 42, and polyploidy and aneuploidy is common, with some of the discordant counts being errors resulting from the difficulty of accurately counting large numbers of chromosomes.

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