Alexis is the author of today’s entry:
Hibiscus brackenridgei is one of six native Hawaiian hibiscus species, most of which are endemic to the Islands. It grows as a tall shrub or small tree, naturally occurring in dry forests and shrub lands. Now extremely rare in the wild, this species exists mainly under cultivation in parks and gardens. In 1923, hibiscus was declared the state flower and many considered this to be the native red hibiscus. It was not until 1988 that Hawaii’s State Legislature specified the yellow Hibiscus brackenridgei as the state flower.
Though its physical form varies from island to island, there are generally two subspecies: Hibiscus brackenridgei subsp. brackenridgei on Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Hawaii, and Hibiscus brackenridgei subsp. mokuleianus, on Kauai and Oahu. The latter is distinguished (in part) by having tiny spines on the branches as well as leaves with more serrated margins and pink veins; there are also tiny spines on the branches. Both subspecies are listed as Endangered.