Common name: Norfolk Island Hibiscus
Lagunaria patersonia (Andrews) G.Don APNI*
Synonyms: Lagunaria patersonia (Andrews) G.Don subsp. patersonia APNI*
Description: Tree to 20 m or more tall with young stems and most other parts densely covered with minute, scurfy, often fringed, appressed scales.
Leaves entire, subcoriaceous, lamina ellitpic to broad-elliptic or lanceolate, 4 - 9 cm long, 1.3 - 5 cm wide, apex obtuse or rounded, scales very dense on underside of leaf.
Epicalyx reduced to a ridge surrounding the base of calyx; calyx 12–15 mm long, densely scaley, lobes 2–3 mm long, broadly triangular; petals elliptic-lanceolate, 4–4.5 mm long, densely scaly dorsally, glabrous within, pink to rose-lilac, yellow towards base.
Capsule spherical, 2–3 mm long, septae lines with irritating hairs c. 1 mm long.
Flowering: Flowers November–February
Distribution and occurrence: Naturalised in coastal areas of New South Wales. Endemic to Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands, where it is generally found in rainforest.
NSW subdivisions: *NC, *CC, *SC, LHI
Other Australian states: *Vic. *W.A. *S.A.
Two subspecies are no longer recognised. Lagunaria patersonia, previously L. patersonia subsp. patersonia (Andrews) G.Don.), is endemic to Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands. It is widely cultivated, and often grown in coastal and inland areas. Plants native to Queensland with an early shedding, cup-shaped epicalyx were previously treated as L. patersonia subsp. bracteata Benth. These are now elevated to species rank as L. queenslandica Craven. Updated by S. McCune, 18 Apr. 2020
Text by Louisa Murray
Taxon concept: Flora of Australia Volume 49 (1994)
APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.