Dombeya is a flowering plant genus. Traditionally included in the family Sterculiaceae, it is included in the expanded Malvaceae in the APG and most subsequent systematics. These plants are known by a number of vernacular names which sometimes, misleadingly, allude to the superficial similarity of flowering Dombeya to pears or hydrangeas (which are unrelated). Therefore, the genus as a whole is often simply called dombeyas. The generic name commemorates Joseph Dombey (1742–1794), a French botanist and explorer in South America, involved in the notorious "Dombey affair", embroiling scientists and governments of France, Spain, and Britain for more than two years.
A small tree, the herbaceous portions tomentose and with weak spreading villi. Petioles 1–3 in. long. Leaves cordate-ovate, acute or acuminate, sometimes obscurely lobed, palmately 5–9-nerved. Peduncles axillary and terminal, about the length of the petioles, bearing a many-flowered umbel; pedicels slender, shorter than the peduncles. Bracts linear-oblong, caducous, nearly as long as the calyx. Flower-buds ovoid, acute. Sepals lanceolate, 1/3 in. long, shorter than the broad, oblique, obovate-cuneate, whitish petals. Stamens united at the base for rather less than half their length. Style pilose at the base, longer than the stamens. Stigmas included. Ovary very downy. Represented in Pakistan by five cultivated species.
This plant was erroneously described in the ‘Gardeners’ Chronicle,' 1867, 14, as D. angulata, Cav. It is much more like D. tomentosa, Cav. Diss. iii. t. 39, a species from Madagascar, of which, however, there are no authentic specimens at Kew. Cavanilles' figure represents a form with smaller flowers than the present, and with a central, solitary, pedicellate flower in the fork of the diverging peduncles, an arrangement not found in any specimen of the genus yet examined.
Distribution: Tropical Africa. Cultivated in India and Pakistan etc.
A common garden perennial, cultivated in Sind and Punjab.