UP Los Baños celebrates Filipinas with newly developed gumamela hybrid

HSBC Philippines
UP Los Baños gumamela hybrid
The newest tricolor hybrid named after the Department of Justice undersecretary blooms at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB). Photo from UPLB.

A new hybrid of the tropical flower hibiscus, known locally as gumamela, has been developed in the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).

UPLB’s development of new hibiscus hybrids celebrates notable Filipinas who are heroes, scientists, artists, and leaders.

The new gumamela hybrid Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Emmeline Aglipay-Villar’ is named after the undersecretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and was developed by Dr. Pablito Magdalita, a professor and UP Scientist at the Institute of Crop Science, College of Agriculture and Food Science (CAFS).

The university’s latest tricolor flower hybrid blooms with a “spinel red petal with cadmium orange edges and red eye” and is said to represent its namesake’s favorite color pink which closely resembles Spinel red “while its multi-colored appearance, topped by an orpiment orange stigma, paint the lawyer’s multiple roles in life.”

Aglipay-Villar was chosen for the university’s ‘Women in Public Service Series’ which pays tribute to female leaders who serve the country by naming new breeds of the tropical flower after them.

UPLB reported that Atty. Aglipay-Villar was there to witness the official launch of the new gumamela hybrid in a virtual event on October 24, 2020, which honored her and her body of work.

“I’ve never, ever, in my wildest dreams imagined that a flower will be named after me,” Atty. Villar said during the online event which was attended by UPLB officials, as well as her family and friends.

“I dedicate this honor to all the women and children who are victims of abuse and exploitation. Let this [hibiscus hybrid] be a symbol of hope for all of us and may it remind us that despite all the pain and suffering, flowers bloom,” Atty. Villar added.

Gumamela or hibiscus is known for its large and colorful flowers, as well as its natural medicinal properties. Its flowers and leaves can be boiled and made into a tea that can treat various conditions including an upset stomach, high blood pressure, and even cancer.

A study conducted by Davao Medical School Foundation revealed that the flower contains ingredients that may be used to prevent cancer, by inhibiting mutation of cancer cells in the human body, according to the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD-DOST) report.

The DOST is currently funding studies for organic and locally available treatment options for the COVID-19 disease involving Lagundi, Tawa Tawa, and Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) while two medicinal plants commonly found in the Philippines with properties that could potentially treat novel coronavirus patients were identified by a botanist of the University of the Philippines Los Baños.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to UP Los Baños for celebrating Filipinas with its development of new gumamela hybrids.

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Margo Hannah De Guzman Quadra
Margo is a voracious reader - some might even say she reads too much for her own good. She majored in BS Psychology and hopes to become a forensic psychologist one day. She’s also an aspiring writer, mental health advocate, and a staunch believer of equality.