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 rosa sinensis L. var. from Tahiti

For information on the species see Hibiscus rosa sinensis L.  Seeds of a Tahitian variety was sent from Tahiti by John Bidwill and raised at Camden.  I have found no specific description but it is probably similar to the double scarlet form collected by Captain James Cook in 1769 and described below.  This form appeared to be the predominant Hibiscus in Tahiti at the time.

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘The two or three forms of the Scarlet-double Hibiscus were introduced by the early Polynesian settlers.  The largest form is common in the mountains of Rarotonga and in gardens, and on the Southern Group Outer Islands; the smallest form is in gardens and is similar to the form collected in Tahiti on Captain Cook's first voyage; the third form is intermediate in size, has petals with shallow lobes, grows in gardens, and it may also be an ancient introduction.  The Single-red Hibiscus is a common hedge plant and is an early post-European Contact introduction.  There is some evidence that this form was derived from the form with the terminal petals and or the Fringed Hibiscus. The Fringed Hibiscus, long considered a different species, is now known to have arisen as a mutation on a plant of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis.  The many other forms of Hibiscus are all bred cultivars.  The longer lasting, firm petalled forms are often called Hawaiian cultivars because several were bred in those islands.’  [McCormack, Gerald (2007) Cook Islands Biodiversity Database, Version 2007.2.  Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust, Rarotonga.  Online at]  

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1845, 1850 and 1857 catalogues [T.552/1845].  A plant was presented to the Sydney Botanic Garden by William Macarthur on September 15th 1847 [RBGS AB].


Published Jan 12, 2010 - 04:53 PM | Last updated Jan 12, 2010 - 04:55 PM

Family Malvaceae
Region of origin


Common Name

Tahitian Hibiscus

Name in the Camden Park Record

Hibiscus rosa sinensis var. (from Tahiti)

Confidence level