Flower Friday – Hibiscus

Hibiscus - Photograph by Laura Lecce
Hibiscus – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Whenever I see a hibiscus flower I immediately associate it with tropical vacations. Beautiful and large flowers, they come in a variety of stunning colors. In Australia we have a hibiscus harlequin bug (Tectocoris diopthalamus) which is also brightly colored, but a dreaded pest to the hibiscus plant. It will pierce through the stem of tender shoots and flower buds to feed on the sap, causing the buds to drop off. These bugs also feed on cotton, a few Australian natives and some fruit trees. Once a female lays her eggs she will stand guard and protect them. In Australia we call them stink bugs because when they get disturbed, they release a very bad smell which triggers mass smell production from nearby friends. Happy weekend everyone!

Hibiscus Harlequin Bug - Photograph by Laura Lecce
Hibiscus Harlequin Bug – Photograph by Laura Lecce