Hibiscus phoeniceus | Brazilian
This petite Hibiscus is found throughout the Carribbean, Central
America, and northern South America. It can be found growing on
plains, hillside and thickets at lower elevations in the drier parts
of Puerto Rico and the West Indies. Small red, pink or white flowers
are less than 1.5" in diameter.
Reference: Proposal to reject the name Hibiscus brasiliensis (Malvaceae).
The names Hibiscus brasiliensis L. (1763) and H. phoeniceus Jacq.
(1776) have long been associated with the same species, widely
distributed in the Neotropics. This entity has been called either H.
brasiliensis, with Hibiscus phoeniceus in synonymy, or (more
commonly) Hibiscus phoeniceus, with Hibiscus brasiliensis rejected
as a “nomen dubium” or otherwise excluded. Turns out there is reason
aplenty for the confusion: whereas the Linnaean protologue of H.
brasiliensis questioningly cited a Plumier plate unequivocally
identifiable as the sp. in question, the accompanying description is
strongly discordant; moreover, Linnaeus later dropped the plate
citation. The present authors have found no specimen in Linnaeus’s
herbaria that “corresponds to the description or that can be
associated with the name,” leaving the Plumier plate as the only
original material available for lectotypification. But rather than
“perpetuate the confusion and misapplication that has been
engendered” by the prior use of the name H. brasiliensis, the
intended application of which “has never been satisfactorily
ascertained,” the authors eschew lectotypification and seek to avoid
what they see as “a disadvantageous nomenclatural change” by means
of this proposal. For members of the Committee, this one may be a
tough call; but we are biased here, since Hibiscus phoeniceus is the
name used for this species in the soon-to-be-published Manual
Malvaceae treatment (by Fryxell).
Fryxell, P.A. & F.A. Berazain. 2007.