IPB-UPLB’s newest gumamela hybrid named after Mariquit B. de la Peña

News, Science and Technology

By Estrella Z. Gallardo

Mariquit (Marikit) means beautiful or somewhat of special beauty, is the name of the IPB-UPLB’s newest Hibiscus rosa-sinesis hybrid gumamela (local name) synonimous to her name Marikit.

Agripina O. Rasco, Plant Breeder of the Institute of Plant Breeding under the College of Agriculture and Food Science of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (IPB-CAFS, UPLB), developed the new Hibiscus hybrid (Image credit: Jamsie Joy E. Perez, Applied Communication Division (ACD), PCAARRD)

The newest Hibiscus rosa-sinensis hybrid named Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Mariquit B. de la Peña’ was named after Mariquit B. de la Peña, the wife of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis “Marikit B. De la Peña” has soft pink rose flowers with delicate white lines radiating from the eye in the middle corolla. It is developed by the Institute of Plant Breedigng under the College of Agriculture and Food Science of the University of the Philippines Los Baños( IPB-CAFS, UPLB).

The unveiling of the new hybrid was held during a simple ceremony at IPB-UPLB on February 19, 2019, which coincided on the de la Peña couple’s 40th wedding anniversary.

IPB plant breeder Agripina O. Rasco, who developed the hybrid, described the hybrid of medium height with very thick petals that bloom for two days. It has five ruffled and partly overlapped petals. Furthermore, Rasco said that the flower is tough and is generous with its blooms, similar to its namesake.

(From left to right, standing) IPB Plant Breeder Agripina O. Rasco; Mariquit B. de la Peña; DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña; IPB Director Dr. Pompe C. Sta Cruz; UPLB Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Portia G. Lapitan; and UPLB Professor Barbara L. Caoili during the naming of “Hibiscus rosa-sinensis” ‘Mariquit B. de la Peña’ (Image credit: Jamsie Joy E. Perez, ACD, PCAARRD)

Mrs. de la Peña left her promising nursing career in the United States to marry Fortunato. A nurse by profession, as their family grew, she decided to take care of her children and husband as a full-time housewife.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Mariquit B. de la Peña’ is among the many hybrids developed under the IPB Hibiscus breeding program that started in 1994 by Reynold Pimentel. The program aims to produce new hybrids to enhance their commercial value, improve their status as an ornamental crop, and make them globally competitive.

(OIC) Synan S. Baguio; Acting Deputy Executive Director for R&D Edwin C. Villar; Crops Research Division OIC Edna A. Anit; Applied Communication Division Director Marita A. Carlos; Deputy Executive Director for Administration, Resource Management and Support Services Melvin B. Carlos; Acting Executive Director Reynaldo V. Ebora; and Management Information Systems Division Director Richard E. Amansec (Image credit: Jamsie Joy E. Perez, ACD, PCAARRD)

Other Hibiscus hybrids were also named after former Commission on Higher Education Chair Patricia B. Licuanan in 2014; UP Manila Chancellor Carmencita David-Padilla in 2015, and National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) Academician Evelyn Mae T. Mendoza in the same year.

The day of the unveiling also formally kicked off the Industry Strategic S&T Plan for Ornamentals of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the DOST (DOST-PCAARRD). (MegaManila Science Journalists)

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