A Message to Hybridizers About the Hibiscus of the Year Competition:

      Several hybridizers have asked for information about the operation of the Seedling Evaluation Committee. At this time, the Policy Manual for the American Hibiscus Society is being revised to include the changes that have been made in the last several years. The following time line and policy may be of interest to you as a hybridizer to help you better understand what the American Hibiscus Society and the Seedling Evaluation Committee expect of you.

      When a bloom wins Best of Show Seedling (BOSS), that bloom becomes eligible for competition as Hibiscus of the Year. After deciding on a name for the seedling, you, as a hybridizer, must register the cultivar with the AHS Nomenclature Committee. The Seedling Evaluation Committee and the editor of The Seed Pod also need this information. You will also be asked to provide enough scion wood for each member (currently 11) of the Seedling Evaluation Committee. Once these two conditions are met, the cultivar will be evaluated for Hibiscus of the Year.

      Although the above rules have not been strictly followed in the past, the Committee feels they are very important and will be enforced. Registration should be done at the time the hybridizer decides to enter the bloom in competition, but no later than the time when the bloom wins a Best of Show Seedling award at a sanctioned show. The Seedling Evaluation Committee Coordinator will remind you that this needs to be done, and failure to do so will result in the cultivar being dropped from consideration by the Committee

      For your convenience the Seedling Evaluation Committee has appointed a Coordinator to assist you with getting scion wood or plants to the Committee members. Scion wood should be given to the Committee no later than the June Convention of the year following the BOSS win. The Committee Coordinator will contact you well before the deadline and make arrangements for you to supply scion wood. The longer that the Committee members have to evaluate a cultivar the better the evaluation process will become. The Coordinator will graft a plant for each Committee member and one or more for a reserve bank. Once the plants are established, the Coordinator will distribute them to the Committee members.

      The Seedling Evaluation Committee members will grow the plants and evaluate them twice a year for the next three years. A new evaluation form was adopted at the June 2003 Convention that evaluates the plant vigor, the plant appearance, the bloom features and the number of blooms. Each attribute is rated as (1) very poor, (2) below average, (3) average, (4) above average, or (5) superior. Members may delete a cultivar from further evaluation at any time by a simple majority vote of the members in attendance at a meeting after a review of the reports submitted. Reasons for removal include, but are not limited to, weak growth, poor foliation, few blooms, significant bud-drop traits, frequent crippled or misshapen blooms or blooms that damage in summer heat.

      At the Fall Membership Meeting of the third year of evaluation, all seedlings still in contention will be narrowed to four cultivars. Hybridizers of these four will be notified and will be instructed to provide at least three slides of their seedling to the Executive Secretary no later than February 1 of the following year.

      Before the June Convention, Committee members will vote for their first, second and third choices from the list of four. First choice is assigned a value of (3), second choice (2) and third choice (1). Winners are determined by the total score of all votes cast and are announced at the June Convention.

      Remember, an unregistered seedling will be dropped from the competition. Nomenclature registration forms may be printed from http://americanhibiscus.org/compjudg.htm It is a PDF file near the bottom of the page. You will need to have Acrobat Reader installed on your computer (most of the newer machines have it, but it is a free download at www.adobe.com). I will also try to keep a supply of the registrations forms handy for anyone who needs them.

      Should you have questions, please contact me by email: twigdig@aol.com or by telephone: 941/627-1791, or by snail mail at 20275 Quesada Ave., Port Charlotte, FL 33952.

Randy Cox, Seedling Evaluation Committee Coordinator