This annual species is displaying its dark-eyed flowers on the Systematic Beds.
Hibiscus trionum, or flower of the hour, is one of 200 species of trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials and annuals from warm temperate, tropical and sub-tropical regions. It is believed to have originated in the arid zones of the Old World Tropics, and thrives in warm, dry conditions as a fast-growing, hardy annual which self-seeds readily. Deeply dissected tri-lobed leaves are held on branching stems, and solitary creamy yellow flowers bearing a darkly coloured eye are borne in the leaf axils. Researchers at Cambridge University have discovered that the waxy coating (cuticle) on the petals of Hibiscus trionum have minuscule ridges, similar to grooves in a CD, and these diffract light to produce an iridescent effect. Research has shown that bees can find iridescent flowers faster than non-iridescent flowers, and this discovery may help plant scientists produce crops which are pollinated more efficiently in the future.