To many, the hibiscus or gumamela is a very familiar sight. The flowering plant is a common sight in Filipino gardens and is often overlooked because nothing seems to be new with the often red-colored flower.
But wait, something’s been up at the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB) – a distinctly new hibiscus hybrid named after a remarkable woman who figured prominently in the life of the man who founded IPB.
IPB launched Hibiscus rosa-sinsensis ‘Alma L. Javier’ in simple rites at the institute on Jan. 31, in gratitude to National Scientist Emil Q. Javier, who founded the institute in 1975, and in honor of his wife, Alma.
She has a noteworthy career as a teacher, guidance counselor, and dedicated mother and wife.
She has been a reliable and steadfast presence in their family, “my rock and anchor,” as Dr. Javier put it.
“She was always there,” recounted Dr. Emil, acknowledging that without her unceasing love and support, he would not have become the Emil Q. Javier that people have come to know today.
Dr. Javier is renowned nationally and internationally for being an institutional builder and visionary leader in agriculture and policymaking, and for being a champion of agriculture modernization.
Developed by IPB breeder Ms. Agripina Rasco, Hibiscus rosa-sinsensis ‘Alma L. Javier’ boasts of striking colors more distinct than the common gumamela.
Its core is a deep fire red, subdued by a soft pink halo that diffuses into warm red-orange. Blanketed with a yellowish sheen, its huge overlapping petals are adorned with delicate pink lines drawing towards its edges. All year round, the flower blooms freely and vigorously.
Hibiscus rosa-sinsensis ‘Alma L. Javier’ was formally presented during the celebration of Dr. Javier and Alma’s 53rd wedding anniversary. UPLB officials, academic dignitaries, relatives, and close friends were present to witness the event. (Juvelle P. Villanueva)