Species Details

Details of Sea hibiscus, beach hibiscus, cottonwood will be displayed below

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Sea hibiscus, beac...   

Common Name: Sea hibiscus, beach hibiscus, cottonwood
Scientific Name: Hibiscus tiliaceus L.
Local Name: Dhiggaa
Dhivehi Name: ދިއްގާ
Plantae  (Kingdom)
Tracheophyta  (Plylum)
Magnoliopsida  (Class)
Malvales  (Order)
Malvaceae  (Family)
Hibiscus   (Genus)

Sea hibiscus, beach hibiscus, cottonwood's description

A small- to medium- sized sized evergreen tree 3 to 10 m in height but is capable of growing to 20 m tall. Canopy is usually much wider than the height of the tree. Trunk is often short, with numerous crooked, sprawling branches. In the shrub like forms, prostrate branches intertwine and form an impenetrable thicket. Bark is grey to light brown, fissured and thick in old trees. Leaves are simple, 8 to 15 cm long, green, smooth and glossy on the upper surface greyish and hairy on the lower surface. Tip of the leaf is pointed, base is heart-shaped and the margins are minutely serrated. Flowers are cup shaped, showy with corolla consisting of five radiating, obovate, lemon-yellow coloured petals with dark maroon base. Flowers are fragile and short-lived, mostly falling the same day that they open. Flower fades to pink colour prior to falling. Fruit is a capsule, hairy, ovoid in shape, light brown in colour and about 2 cm long. It splits into five segments upon drying. Seeds are kidney shaped, brown or brown-black in colour and hairy.

Sea hibiscus, beach hibiscus, cottonwood's Behavior & Ecology

It tolerates wide variety of soils, ranging from coralline, skeletal soils to waterlogged swampy soils of medium to heavy texture. It also tolerates aerosol salt spray, brackish water and shallow flooding very well. Well-established tree can also withstand drought. Propagation is by seed and stem cuttings. For seed propagation, capsules should be collected before becoming brown and then air dried to allow the capsule to split, which when shaken will release seeds. Seeds can be scarified by lightly nicking the seed coat. Seedlings, five to six month old and about 25 cm in height are suitable for outplanting. Stem cuttings about 2 to 3 m long from straight branches are commonly used for propagation.

Sea hibiscus, beach hibiscus, cottonwood's Relationship with Humans

Timber is soft, less durable but hard. In the Maldives, it is widely used for boat building. Trunk and stems are stripped off bark and soaked in seawater to discourage insect attack and rot. Timber is also used for tool handles and fish floats. It is also used for firewood. Smooth, fibrous, cream-coloured inner bark is used for making ropes, which are stronger when wet. This rope is used for fishing nets, mats, bowstrings, net beg etc. Leaves are good for composting. Tree is very useful to stabilize coastal sands and sand dunes. It is an ideal species for agroforestry in atoll environment and a candidate species for multispecies coastal bioshield.