Gumamela - Hibuscus

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Hibiscus is also a name for a cocktail
Hibiscus flower
Hibiscus flower
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Malvales
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Hibiscus

See text.

Hibiscus or Rosemallow is a large genus of about 200-220 species of flowering plants in the family Malvaceae, native to warm temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world. The genus includes both annual and perennial herbaceous plants, and woody shrubs and small trees. The leaves are alternate, simple, ovate to lanceolate, often with a toothed or lobed margin. The flowers are large, conspicuous, trumpet-shaped, with five or more petals, ranging from white to pink, red, purple or yellow, and from 4-15 cm broad. The fruit is a dry five-lobed capsule, containing several seeds in each lobe, which are released when the capsule splits open at maturity.

Hibiscus, showing pistil and stamens

Many of these species are grown for their showy flowers and many are used as landscape shrubs. Hibiscus syriacus (Mugunghwa or "Rose of Sharon") is the national flower of South Korea, while Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (Bunga Raya or "Chinese hibiscus") is the national flower of Malaysia. The ma‘o hau hele (Hibiscus brackenridgei) is the state flower of Hawai‘i.

In temperate zones, probably the most commonly grown ornamental species is Hibiscus syriacus, the common garden Hibiscus, also known in some areas as the "Rose of Althea" or "Rose of Sharon" (but not to be confused with the unrelated Hypericum calycinum, also called "Rose of Sharon"). In tropical and subtropical areas, the Chinese hibiscus (H. rosa-sinensis), with its many showy hybrids, is the most popular hibiscus.

Hibiscus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Chionodes hibiscella, Hypercompe hambletoni, The Nutmeg and Turnip Moth.

About 200-220 species are known, including:

  • Hibiscus acetosella
  • Hibiscus arnottianus - Koki'o
  • Hibiscus brackenridgei - Ma'o hau hele
  • Hibiscus calyphyllus
  • Hibiscus cameronii
  • Hibiscus cannabinus - Kenaf
  • Hibiscus cisplatinus
  • Hibiscus clayi - Hawaiian hibiscus (red)
  • Hibiscus coccineus
  • Hibiscus diversifolius
  • Hibiscus elatus
    At left, a flower emerges from a bud. At right, the same flower is fully developed less than 18 hours later.
  • Hibiscus fragilis - Mandrinette
  • Hibiscus furcellatus - Akiohala
  • Hibiscus fuscus
    A White Hibiscus Flower.
  • Hibiscus grandiflorus
  • Hibiscus hamabo
  • Hibiscus hastatus
  • Hibiscus heterophyllus
  • Hibiscus indicus
  • Hibiscus kokio - Koki'o 'ula
  • Hibiscus laevis - Halberd-leaved rosemallow
  • Hibiscus lasiocarpos
  • Hibiscus lavaterioides
  • Hibiscus ludwigii
  • Hibiscus macrophyllus
  • Hibiscus militaris - Syn. of Hibiscus laevis
  • Hibiscus moscheutos - Swamp Rose-mallow
  • Hibiscus mutabilis - Cotton rosemallow
  • Hibiscus paramutabilis
  • Hibiscus pedunculatus
  • Hibiscus platanifolius
  • Hibiscus radiatus
  • Hibiscus rosa-sinensis - Chinese hibiscus
  • Hibiscus sabdariffa - Roselle or Omutete or Sorrel
  • Hibiscus schizopetalus
  • Hibiscus scottii
  • Hibiscus sinosyriacus
  • Hibiscus syriacus - Hibiscus
  • Hibiscus tiliaceus - Hau
  • Hibiscus trionum - Flower-of-an-Hour
  • Hibiscus waimeae - Koki'o ke'oke'o

Cultivation and uses

Hibiscus has been cultivated for so long that there are no records of the wild flower it originated from. One species of Hibiscus, known as Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus), is extensively used in paper making. Another, roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is used as a vegetable and to make herbal teas and jams (especially in the Caribbean). In Mexico, the jamaica drink is quite popular and is made from calyces of the roselle plant. In Egypt and Sudan, roselle petals are used to make a beloved tea named after the plant, karkade, which can be served with Golikas, a dish consisting of chocolate and rice.

Extracts of some hibiscus species are claimed to have health benefits, including prevention of constipation, bladder infections and nausea, and high blood pressure. The studies that yielded these results are debated. An unspecified hibiscus plant is used to make a herbal tea, typically blended with rosehip.

The bark of the hibiscus contains strong fibers. They can be obtained by letting the stripped bark sit in the sea for some time in order to let the organic material rot away. In Polynesia these fibers (fau, pūrau) are used for making grass skirts. They have also been known to be used to make wigs.

The City of Hibiscus is another name for the city of Chengdu in China.

The Hibiscus flower is Hawaii's and Malaysia's state flower.

Hibiscus, espcially white hibiscus is considered to have medicinal properties in the Indian traditional system of medince, Ayurveda. Roots are used to make various decoctions believed to cure various ailments.

It is used as an offering to Goddess Kali and Lord Ganesha in Hindu Worship.

Some Hibiscus species and cultivars such as 'Texas Star' look superficially similar to marijuana at a glance. This led to a police raid in one instance. [1] [2]

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