‘Gumamela’ flower named after Negros lady civic leader

By Anna Valmero

LOS BAÑOS, LAGUNA--The University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) named a gumamela flower after Dr. Marilyn Marañon for her commitment to public service.

The hibiscus rosa-sinensis or “Marilyn D. Marañon” is a tribute to Dr. Marañon as one of the outstanding women in public service, said Dr. Pablito Magdalita, plant breeder of the Institute of Plant Breeding at the College of Agriculture of UPLB.

Marañon is a civic leader who has quietly and steadily served her constituents. Her advocacy work and cause-oriented projects complemented her husband's governance of Negros Occidental and has helped transform the once sleepy province into one of the most progressive in the country.

The plant is described “of medium height, shrubby and has a semi-erect growth habit. It is also a fast grower and a very prolific bloomer.”

“Its flowers have lemon yellow petals with a white eye zone surrounded by pinkish halo,” said Magdalita.

He added the flowers, which have large bloom size of 3.5 inches, are continuously produced during the year, with May to December as its peak months.

Marañon said she was “very surprised” that the flower was named after her. She is the first Negrense to have a flower named after her.

“I'm very happy and I would like this flower propagated in Negros and become a source of income for growers. I love flowers and I find it beautiful,” said Marañon, adding they will order more of the flowers for the provincial livelihood program.

It is the fifth in a series of a variety of flowers named to honor women with extra ordinary services to humanity, said Dr. Luis Rey Valesco, chancellor of UPLB. Former US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney also had a flower named after her in honor of her civic contributions to the country.

Earlier, the institute released the hibiscus “Millenium” series, composed of single petaled and prolific bloomers, as a tribute to UPLB women scientists who work for Philippine agriculture, namely Drs. Claire Baltazar, Dolores Ramirez, Gelia Castillo, and Emerita de Guzman.

Presidential Decree (PD) 729 issued on June 1975 created the IPB under the College of Agriculture in UPLB. Under Republic Act (RA) 7308, otherwise known as the Seed Industry Development Act of 1992, IPB was also identified as the lead agency for crop biotechnology research.

The Institute maintains 43,000 accessions of about 500 species, of which over 100 varieties approved by the National Seed Industry Council (NSIC) and the IPB-Germplasm Registration and Release Office.

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