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Hibiscus heterophyllus

Family Name: Malvaceae
Common Name: Native Rosella, Native Sorrel
Full Sun: 6-8h Moderate Water Bird-Attracting Butterfly Food Plant Coastal Ornamental Flowers Woody


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub (Woody)
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Rounded


Native Distribution Australia.
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Exotic

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form A tall, fast growing shrub to about 2 m tall, although may reach up to 6 m.
Crown Rounded shape.
Foliage Leaves are ovate to deeply lobed (3-lobed), measuring up to 20 cm x 18 cm. Stellate hairs found on the lower leaf surface, while sparse on the upper surface. Stipules are small and triangular.
Flowers Flowers are yellow, with red centre. Solitary flowers, located on the axils.
Fruits Hairy, brown capsule that consists of glabrous (smooth), dark brown seeds.
Habitat In its natural habitat, found in moist open forests and rainforest margins. Sometimes can be found on the coast.
Cultivation Regular pruning is required by tip pruning when young, to maintain bushiness. Plant prefers moist soil, and full sun to light shade.
Etymology The genus Hibiscus is an old Greek name, hibiscum for marsh mallow. The specific epithet heterophyllus means diversely-leaved.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens, Coastal

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird Attracting, Butterfly Food Plant (Flower Nectar)
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Butterfly, Moth), Insects (Bee), Vertebrates (Bird))

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Potential Problems No serious pest or disease problems. However, do keep a look out for mealybugs.
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Hairy / Hirsute
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Green
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate, Palmate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net, Palmate
Foliar Margin Serrulate, Palmately Lobed
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute

Non - Foliar and Storage

Root Type Underground

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Yellow / Golden
Flower Texture(s) Smooth
Flower Grouping Solitary
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Funnelform / Funnel-shaped
Flowering Period Free-Flowering, After Rain

Image Repository



Master ID 31148
Species ID 5541
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 20 April 2020.