Showy Dombeya

In my last post I had written about visiting the local Cultural Centre to find out what was blooming. After I was done photographing the annuals, I looked for blooming shrubs and this is what I found! The Showy Dombeya or Maple-leaved Dombeya!  Dombeya spectabilis is a small tree with clusters of flowers in the palest shade of pink. Not only are the flowers pretty but fragrant as well. There were many bees on the pale pink clusters.


Although I had seen the shrub from a distance, this was the first time that I saw it from close quarters. I looked up online to find some of the details. Dombeya has several ornamental species. The clusters of blooms resemble the hydrangea. No wonder one variety, the Dombeya seminole, is also referred to as the Tropical Rose Hydrangea or the Florida Hydrangea.

This native of tropical Africa and Madagascar is a fast growing plant. It flowers in winter between November and January. Pruning is best in early summer or during the rainy season. Propagation is done through root cuttings in spring and summer. The plant closely resembles the Hibiscus mutabilis, a flowering shrub from the same family Malvaceae.

Hibiscus mutabilis

Hibiscus mutabilis is named so because when the blooms appear they are pure white but turn into pink and then a darker pink. The three different colours can be seen in this photo. The photo below shows the drying cluster of blooms on the Dombeya. Not the drooping kind but rather like the hydrangea drying up. The Dombeya is named after Joseph Dombay, a French botanist and physician who made extensive plant collections in Peru and Chile in the 18th century.

About Kanak Hagjer

Hello from north-east India! I love to blog about all things floral and foliar and sharing the beauty of my region is what I am most passionate about!
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11 Responses to Showy Dombeya

  1. Mildred says:

    Wow ~ what pretty plants – the close-ups are gorgeous Kanak. I just wish I could smell the sweet fragrance. Enjoy your day.

  2. These are beautiful! They do look like a few flowers we have here, but I don’t think I have ever seen these before.

  3. Titania says:

    Dombaya is a fantastic shrub, love the softest pink flowers. I always wanted one but have never been able to locate one in my local nurseries.
    I grow the H.mutibilis which is a pretty and tough shrub. Unfortunately the flowers ball when the weather is very wet.

  4. Andrea says:

    Wow Kanak, those are pretty! I dont know any of them maybe because they are subtropical species. However, that H mutabilis might grow here, i wonder where i can see it for experimenting. Most flowers change color at dehiscent stage, but the changes here is lovelier than any of the flowers i know. They dont look like they are the colors of dying. We have those leaves in the wild but none of those flowers.

  5. wendy says:

    What gorgeous flowers! I love the delicate pink colour and the little bee inside! So nice to visit here. It’s winter where I am and very cold. Brrrrrr!

  6. joey says:

    Oh my, Kanak, these lovely images make my winter heart sing!

  7. Stephanie says:

    Such a beautiful flower! And it dries up like a hydrangea also. Love how they look at close and from far. And you are right the shrub looks like H. mutabilis. Thanks for showing this discovery 😀 The next time I see a H.m. I will have look closer whether it’s actually a H.m or a D.s.

  8. Wonderful Dombeya! They are warm-season, almost tropical plants here. Since I don’t have one in my garden this is the first one I’ve seen in months! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Autumn Belle says:

    I’ve been longing to see a H. mutabilis. It looks like magic, changing colours like that in a single day. The Dombeya is really gorgeous!

  10. Lotusleaf says:

    What a beautiful flower! I have seen this in a park in Orissa, but haven’t come across it here.
    Did you get my e-mail?

  11. islandgal246 says:

    WOW! Gorgeous blooms Kanak! These might adapt very well to my climate.

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