Ah, the light on this tissuey blossom, highlighting its furled veiny petals and contrasting ruby center!
Seaside Mahoe or Thespesia populnea is a delightful coastal tree. It has tissuey, Hibiscus-like flowers which open as yellow and turn to pink and ruby red as they mature. Next the petals fall and the center of the sepal cup transforms into a burgeoning apple-shaped fruit. Its heart-shaped leaves are a delightful bright green.
One of its common names,Thespesia, means "divinely decreed" and was given by Daniel Solander who saw it in Tahiti as a member of Captain Cook's ship. Indian tulip tree is an evergreen bushy tree. It grows to 40 ft or more with a spread of 10–20 ft. It has heart-shaped leaves and cup-shaped yellow flowers that are produced intermittently throughout the year in warm climates. Each flower has a maroon eye that ages to purple. The flowers are followed by apple-shaped fruit.
Medicinal uses: Ground up bark is used to treat skin diseases (India), dysentery and hemorrhoids (Mauritius) Leaves are applied to inflamed and swollen joints (South India), When cut, the young fruit secretes a yellow sticky sap used to treat ringworm and other skin diseases, (South India) Roots are used as a tonic. There is some modern investigation of the plant's effects on high blood pressure.
Indian tulip tree, Aden apple, Portia tree • Hindi: Paras pipal पारस
पीपल • Malayalam: Puvarasu • Bengali: Palaspipal • Tamil: பூவரசு
Botanical name: Thespesia populnea, Malvaceae (Mallow family)
Sea Hibiscus, Mahoe - Hibiscus tiliaceus L.
Family - Malvaceae
Habitat - Ruderal, coastal areas, roadsides
Description - Not native, category 2 exotic plant. Large shrub, small tree to 25 feet in height with a spreading habit of growth. Leaves are alternate, broadly cordate with pubescent lower surface.
Flower - Hibiscus type flower, yellow at opening, turning reddish-orange by days end.
Arch Creek East Environmental Preserve, North Miami, FL.
See my sets, Tantalizing Flowers and Blossoms and Woods, weeds and streams.