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 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.