Charles Day is Wave Hill’s Ruth Rea Howell Horticultural Interpreter.
Although a member of the mallow family (Malvaceae), this decorative flowering shrub has been called the “tropical rose hydrangea” and it’s not hard to see why: it does look very much like a pink-flowered hydrangea, at least when viewed from a distance.
Dombeya burgessiae is native to South Africa, where it has several common names, including “pink wild pear” and is, apparently, a favorite food source of the black rhino.
‘Seminole’ is a popular hybrid selection of Dombeya and can be seen in gardens in the warmer parts of the country, such as Florida and southern California.
The genus is named in honor of Joseph Dombey, a noted French botanist of the eighteenth century.
Look for our lovely specimen in the Palm House, the central greenhouse of the Marco Polo Stufano Conservatory.