Pink Ball (Dombeya x cayeuxii)


Dombeya × cayeuxii André 1897, commonly called Pink Ball, Pink Snowball, Hydrangea Tree or Tropical Hydrangea, is a small tropical tree or a large shrub. Dombeyas are native to India, Eastern and Southern Africa and Madagascar.

Dombeya x cayeuxii is often confused with Dombeya wallichii, as flowers look identical, but leaves of Dombeya wallichii are heart-shaped, whilst Dombeya x cayeuxii leaves are three-lobed. The Pink Ball (Dombeya x cayeuxii) is a garden hybrid, a crossing between Dombeya wallichii and Dombeya burgessiae, most likely created by the French botanist and horticulurist Henri Cayeux. Even if the tropical plant is sometimes called Tropical Hydrangea or Hydrangea Tree, it`s not related to the Hydrangea genus. The Dombeya genus belongs to the mallow family (Malvaceae) and has been established by the Spanish botanist Antonio José Cavanilles (1745-1804) in the year 1786. Antonio José Cavanilles named the genus in honour to the French botanist Joseph Dombey (1742–1794). Pink Ball trees reach heights of up to about 6 meters.

The fragrant flowers, the scent is reminescent of coconut or a buttery cake frosting, are attractive to bees, butterflies and birds. Withered, dried flower clusters get an acrid smell, that attracts flies, and should be removed. As a hybrid, Dombeya x cayeuxii flowers are sterile, plants don`t set seeds, respectively seeds aren`t germinably. The Pink Ball tree (Dombeya x cayeuxii) is best cultivated in full sun or partial shade and should be trimmed regularly. Single flowers get a size of about 3,5 cm and last about one month. Flowering period: Autumn - Spring, with its peak in winter.

Pink Ball (Dombeya x cayeuxii)
Flower Photography © Orchids
Image: Pink Ball (Dombeya x cayeuxii)

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