Flowering plants provide valued colour in the winter garden. While southern gardeners are huddling around the fireplace, the dry sunny days in the tropics and subtropics are ideal for relaxing and entertaining friends and family. Winter days are some of the best times to enjoy the garden and dombeyas provide plenty of interest. Editor Paul Plant takes a brief look at these winter flowering beauties.
Once classified in the same family as our native Bottle Trees (Brachychiton species), Sterculiaceae, the genus of Dombeya now resides in the Malvaceae family along with the common Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis).
There are believed to be some 255 to 350 species in the genus Dombeya. They are native to Africa and Madagascar where the climatic conditions can vary from warm temperate climates, to both humid and dry tropical and subtropical conditions. There is a species suitable for most of these climates.
Species presented are:
(syn. Dombeya calantha, D. mastersii, D. nyasica, D. rosea)
Pink Wild Pear, Pink Dombeya
Strawberry Snowball Tree, Winter’s Joy Tree
Red Climbing Dombeya
(syn. Dombeya natalensis, Xeropetalum tiliaceum)
Forest Wild Pear, Cape Wedding Flower,
Little Dog Rose
Dombeya x cayeuxii
(D. burgessiae x D. wallichii)
Mexican Rosetree, Pink Snowball