Flavonoid Aglycones Pigments in Hardy and Tropical Hibiscus

Nutley, NJ(Zone 6b)

While researching Hibiscus martianus, I came across a paper on Flavonoid Aglycones pigments in the flowers of hardy and tropical Hibiscus which I though might be of interest to the members of the Hibiscus forum.

Analyses for Flavonoid Aglycones in Fresh and Preserved Hibiscus Flowers
by Lorraine S. Puckhaber, Robert D. Stipanovic, and Georgia A. Bost

The paper is a monograph in the book Trends in new crops and new uses ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA edited by J. Janick and A. Whipkey of Purdue University. The level of peer-review to which the monograph was subjected is unknown.

One of the principle investigators Georgia A. Bost is also the breeder of many of the Hibiscus used in the study and the owner of The Village Botanica, Inc. in Waller, TX where she ran a Hibiscus research facility. The website http://VBIHibiscus.com/ is not functional and I am not sure if the research facility is still in operation. Fortunately the Wayback Machine archived the contents of the website between May 15, 2004 and May 16, 2008 and the product catalogs are available in the Wayback Machine archive. Accessing the Wayback Machine can be slow and I would strongly recommend that anyone who is interested, download and save the following PDF documents to your personal computer.

Wayback Machine Archives for http://VBIHibiscus.com/

The Village Botanica Homepage as of May 16, 2008

VBI Plant Catalog HHP-06 as of Oct. 20, 2006

Hibiscus Flyer for DOTs as of Oct. 20, 2006

The expression of Flavonoid color pigments is dependent on the acidity or alkalinity within the Hibiscus flower as well other chemicals in the flower to which the Flavonoids may bind. The following table lists the Flavonoids, the most likely color expressed and a Wikipedia report on the Flavonoid. As the paper did not specify color expression in all cases, I not sure of these colors.

1) Quercitin, Yellow, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quercitin
2) Kaempferol, Purple, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaempferol
3) Myricetin, Yellow, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myricetin
4) Delphinidin, Blue, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphinidin
5) Cyanidin, Reddish-orange, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyanidin
6) Petunidin, Dark-red, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petunidin
7) Pelargonidin, Orange, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelargonidin
8) Malvidin, Red-wine, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malvidin

Going through the results presented in Table 1, I was very surprised at the levels of Quercitin (yellow) and Kaempferol (purple) in wild Hibiscus grandiflorus. It is unfortunate what all the wild species and subspecies in Hibiscus section Muenchhusia were not included in the study to provide a Flavonoid baseline for the hardy Hibiscus.

One word of caution about Table 1; the web based version of Table 1 contains some serious column transposition errors as a result of a faulty conversion from the original PDF document. There is a spelling error in the word Cyanidin in both versions of Table 1. In the PDF document there are two obvious column displacement errors and I am not sure of the results for the row beginning with “BOSTx® ‘Turk’s Cap’” if this is a Hibiscus and not Malvaviscus drummondii as the name suggests. I will see if I can contact the editors of the book as they appear to be soliciting feedback on quality control issues.

If there is interested, I have what I believe is a corrected Excel version of Table 1 which I will send anyone who DM’s me their Email address. Once you have Table 1 in Excel you can organize the data to better evaluate your favorite Hibiscus. You can open the Excel file using the free Microsoft Excel Reader or the free Open Office application.

I really wish I had the data for Hibiscus grandiflorus back in August 2010. I would have hybridized Hibiscus grandiflorus pollen to Hibiscus Blue River II. I totally overlooked that cross as I was focused on crosses with Hibiscus coccineus. There is always next year!


Nutley, NJ(Zone 6b)

I am saddened to report the passing Georgia A. Bost, known to may as the “Hibiscus Woman", at the age of 62 in Huston Texas.

Georgia Bost (1950 – 2012)

R.I.P. Georgia Bost, Founder of Georgia's Texas Grassfed Beef and Georgia's Farm to Market

Healthy eating pioneer and farm fresh restaurant owner dies at age 62

Georgia's Farm to Market

In addition to her work on Hibiscus Flavonoids which are discussed on this thread, Georgia Bost created numerous Hibiscus hybrids and maintained lines of native North American native species which she used in her research.

Under her BOSTx®HHHybrids™ brand, Georgia Bost held US Plant Patents for her Hibiscus hybrids, which include the following.

Debra™ - PP985
Grace Coolidge™ - PP9852
Michelle’s Passion™ - PP10741
Quatro Rojo™ - PP9311
Razberri Ruffles™ - PP9838

The following is Georgia’s native North American species list with names cultivars, a number of which appear to be unique.

Species Hibiscus
H. aculeatus
H. coccineus
H. coccineus alba
H. dasycalyx “SABG”
H. dasycalyx “Scooter”
H. laevis “Guadelupe”
H. laevis “Houston White”
H. laevis “Lowrey’s Neches Pk”
H. laevis “Steve’s Pk”
H. moscheutos moscheutos
H. moscheutos palustris
H. moscheutos grandiflorus
H. mutabilis “Double Pink”
H. mutabilis “Single Pink”
H. mutabilis taiwanensis (white)
H. striatus lambertianus

If anyone has any of Georgia’s Hibiscus hybrids or species, please share your experience and photographs with this forum. Archived images of Georgia’s 2003 Hibiscus website can be viewed here:


In my quest for heirloom Hibiscus, I have found it all too common that upon the death of a Hibiscus breeder, many of their Hibiscus creations die with them. Let us hope that the gardener’s of Huston but aside a small plot of land where Georgia’s Hibiscus can be cultivated for all to enjoy in her memory.

Rest in Peace, Georgia!


Thumbnail by Michael_Ronayne

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