Description from Flora of China
Bombycidendron Zollinger & Moritzi; Fioria Mattei; Furcaria (Candolle) Kosteletzky (1836), not Desvaux (1827); Hibiscus sect. Furcaria Candolle; H. sect. Sabdariffa Candolle; Ketmia Miller; Sabdariffa (Candolle) Kosteletzky; Solandra Murray (1785), not Linnaeus (1759), nor Swartz (1787), nom. cons.; Talipariti Fryxell.
Shrubs, subshrubs, trees, or herbs. Leaf blade palmately lobed or entire, basal veins 3 or more. Flowers axillary, usually solitary, sometimes subterminal and ± congested into a terminal raceme, 5-merous, bisexual. Epicalyx lobes 5 to many, free or connate at base, rarely very short (H. schizopetalus) or absent (H. lobatus). Calyx campanulate, rarely shallowly cup-shaped or tubular, 5-lobed or 5-dentate, persistent. Corolla usually large and showy, variously colored, often with dark center; petals adnate at base to staminal tube. Filament tube well developed, apex truncate or 5-dentate; anthers throughout or only on upper half of tube. Ovary 5-loculed or, as a result of false partitions, 10-loculed; ovules 3 to many per locule; style branches 5; stigmas capitate. Fruit a capsule, cylindrical to globose, valves 5, dehiscence loculicidal and sometimes partially septicidal or indehiscent (H. vitifolius Linnaeus). Seeds reniform, hairy or glandular verrucose.
According to recent molecular studies (Pfeil et al., Syst. Bot. 27: 333-350. 2002), Hibiscus is paraphyletic, and as more taxa are sampled and a more robust phylogeny is constructed, the genus undoubtedly will be recast. Species of other genera of Hibisceae found in China, such as Abelmoschus, Malvaviscus, and Urena, fall within a monophyletic Hibiscus clade. Decaschistia, which is currently placed in the Decaschisteae, also falls within this clade, but only a single Australian species was sampled and this may not be representative of the genus as a whole. Given the unsettled taxonomy of Hibiscus, we are choosing to be conservative, recognizing the paraphyletic nature of Abelmoschus, Malvaviscus, Urena, and possibly Decaschistia, and refraining from recognizing additional segregates of Hibiscus such as Fioria and Talipariti, which themselves may not be monophyletic.
The large colorful flowers of many species mean that the genus is of great horticultural interest and several species are now widely distributed in China. Hibiscus elatus Swartz and H. radiatus Cavanilles were included in FRPS but they are cultivated species of limited occurrence and do not meet the criteria for inclusion in this Flora.
Hibiscus forrestii Diels (Notes Roy. Bot. Gard. Edinburgh 5: 252. 1912), described from Yunnan, could not be treated here because no material was seen by the authors.
About 200 species: tropical and subtropical regions; 25 species (12 endemic, four introduced) in China.