Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Hibiscus mutabilis L.

Frost-tender, erect to spreading, usually freely branching, evergreen shrub or small tree, with stems covered in soft, star-shaped hairs, 3- to 7-lobed leaves, hairy beneath, and axillary clusters of funnel-shaped, white or pink flowers, to 12cm across, sometimes with a darker base.  Flowers sometimes borne singly.  To 5m.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘Native of the East Indies, China, and Japan.  Introduced by Lord Portland in 1690.  It had however been cultivated before 1632 at Rome by Father, Ferrari, the Jesuit who wrote the treatise "De Culturi Floruin;" the seed having been sent him by some monks of his own order, as he says, from the West Indies, where, though not aboriginal, it is much cultivated for the beauty of the flowers, which are usually seen in the double or full state, as with us in our hothouses.  We know of no representation of the species in the single-flowered state in any of our popular works, and have been induced to publish the present figure for that reason.  On the first appearance of the plant in the gardens of Europe, it attracted much attention by the curious transitions of a corolla, opening in the morning from green to white, about noon beginning to redden, in the evening deepening to a full crimson, then quickly fading.  Drawn last November three years, in the hothouse of Mr. Vere, at Kensington Gore.’  [BR f.589/1821].

The flowers are ‘white in the morning, changing to a flesh-colour towards noon, but becoming rose-coloured towards the evening, usually double, resembling those of a hollyhock.’  [Don].  Introduced to Britain in 1690.  [PD].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [T.544/1843].


Published Jan 11, 2010 - 04:55 PM | Last updated Jan 11, 2010 - 05:01 PM

Figured are lobed leaves and both white and pink bowl-shaped flowers.  Botanical Register f.589, 1821.

Hibiscus mutabilis L. | BR f.589/1821 | BHL

Family Malvaceae
Region of origin



Hibiscus sinensis Mill.

Common Name

Confederate rose mallow, Changeable rose mallow, Cotton rose

Name in the Camden Park Record

Hibiscus mutabilis - changeable rose Hibiscus 

Confidence level