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Cruz Bay
Thursday, September 29, 2022


Scientific Name: Hibiscus tiliaceus
Common name: Mahoe; Sea Hibiscus
Family Name: MALVACEAE
Growth Habit: Small to medium-sized tree to 30' in height with a broad, dense, hemispherical crown; trunk to 10" in diameter.
Identification: Bark: Gray, smooth, blotched.
Leaves: Evergreen, alternate, simple; broadly heart-shaped, 4-7" long and broad; dark yellowish-green above, lighter and somewhat downy beneath.
Flowers: Showy, yellow, becoming red before falling, funnel-shaped with 5 overlapping petals; 4-5" across, flower lasting only one day. Flowering throughout the year.
Fruit: Round-pointed, grayish-green, hairy, 1-11/4" long; splits into 5 sections to reveal numerous brown, kidney-shaped seeds, each to 1/4" in length.
Growth Rate: Fast
Salt Tolerance: High
Drought Tolerance: High
Propagation Methods: Seeds, cuttings, air-layering.
Landscape Uses/Limitations: A flowering, ornamental tree for medium-sized yards and park areas. May be planted in a row for an effective windbreak. Excellent for seaside plantings. Can be weak-wooded; requires selective pruning to be tree-like.
Economic / Medicinal Uses: Wood is moderately soft and porous; has been used as fuel, floats, and cork substitutes. Fibrous bark once used for ropes, nets, mats, and coarse cloth production. A tea produced from the bark has been used to relieve asthma and fevers.

Conservational Needs: Less than 10 of these trees are known to exist in the wild; they could be replanted in dry coastal areas or as shade trees in public areas.
Natural Distribution on St. Croix: Seen only at Annaly Bay.

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