Cottonwood or Beach Hibiscus

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Hibiscus tiliaceus

Family : Malvaceae

This native Hibiscus is a large, spreading tree. It can grow to about 10 metres and often forms thickets with only a few plants along coastal plains. These have large, heart shaped leaves.

Flowers are large, with five delicate yellow petals and a purple or red centre. Along the edge of lagoons and creeks, the Cottonwood is an important habitat tree for secretive birds such as Herons and Bitterns.

The fruit are globular, brown capsules that open to release seeds while still attached to the tree. Fruit and flowers appear sporadically through the year.

These are fast growing and extremely hardy plants. They will grow in most habitats and can tolerate salt, wind and full sun. These trees are good for providing protection and shade for seedlings and will hold together sand and soil. The Cottonwood has very beautiful leaves and flowers and can cover large areas.


Cottonwood Beach Hibiscus leaves © NQ Dry Tropics Cottonwood Beach Hibiscus flower © NQ Dry Tropics Cottonwood Beach Hibiscus seed pod © NQ Dry Tropics

Traditional Owner Values

Manbarra The bark strips from the “big leaf” are used for twine.

Quick Facts

Flowers All year
Fruit All year
Coastal Zone Dune Crest - Hind Dune
Fauna Habitat Butterflies, Moths, Insects, Others and Birds
Growth Habit Tree
Typical Height 10m+
Soils Most Soils
Amount of Sun Full or Partial Sun
Amount of Water Dry Areas through to Wet Areas
Salt Tolerance Extremely Tolerant


NQ Dry Tropics gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the Coastal Dry Tropics Landcare Group Incorporated (CTDLI) to the development of this page's information.

Related information

Cottonwood Beach Hibiscus © NQ Dry Tropics Download PDF printable version of this page

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