Pavonia hastata

Distribution Map
Family: Malvaceae
Distribution: New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and South America.
Common Name: Pink pavonia
Derivation of
Pavonia....after José Antonio Pavón, a spanish botanist
hastata....From Latin meaning "spreading lobes at the base", referring to the leaves.
Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

General Description:

Pavonia is a genus of around 200 species which extends beyond Australia. It is closely related to the commonly cultivated Hibiscus. P.hastata is the only member of the genus to occur in Australia and it is also native to parts of South America. It occurs in woodland and open forest in both damp and dry situations. Pavonia differs from Hibiscus in having a 10-lobed style (5-lobed in Hibiscus).

Pavonia hastata
Pavonia hastata
Photo: Brian Walters

Although this species is reported to have been collected from near the Nepean River west of Sydney within 15 years of European settlement, there has been some debate as to whether it may be an introduced species to Australia. The consensus now seems to be that the plant is, in fact, introduced.

The species usually forms a spreading shrub to about 1 metre in height. Leaves are slightly or deeply lobed and about 150 mm long.

Flowers are typical Hibiscus-like in shape and about 50 mm in diameter. Colour is pink with a deep red throat. The flowering period extends from summer through to autumn and some of the flowers may be cleistogamous (produce seed without opening). The individual flowers last only 1-2 days but new flowers continue to open over a long period. The seeds develop in a dry fruit which splits when mature into 5 fruitlets (schizocarp).

P.hastata is commonly cultivated and is a hardy plant under a range of climates and soil types. It is quick growing but may become "leggy" with age. It responds to annual pruning to maintain a bushy shape. Given the extent of its spread in the wild, it is recommended that the plant not be cultivated.

Propagation from seed is relatively easy and no special pretreatment is needed. Cuttings also strike readily.

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