Hibiscus facts for kids

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Hibiscus
A red hibiscus flower in Sydney, Australia during late Spring
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Malvales
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Hibiscus
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Hibiscus or rosemallow is a genus of plants with a flower of bright colors. It grows mostly in the tropics, but some species grow in cool climates. Hibiscus often become national/state flowers. For example, the Hawaiian hibiscus is the state flower of Hawaii.

The flower usually has five petals. Hibiscus comes in many colours like white to pink, red, purple and yellow.

Description

The leaves are alternate, ovate to lanceolate, often with a toothed or lobed margin. The flowers are large, conspicuous, trumpet-shaped, with five or more petals, color from white to pink, red, orange, peach, yellow or purple, and from 4–18 cm broad. The fruit is a dry five-lobed capsule, containing several seeds in each lobe, which are released when the capsule dehisces (splits open) at maturity. It is of red and white colours. It is an example of complete flowers.

Hibiscus Flower's Life Cycle Stages

Hibiscus Flower's Life Cycle Stages
Hibiscus Flower's Life Cycle Stages

Uses

Hawaiian Flower
A white Hibiscus arnottianus in Hawaii
Hibiscus hirtus Lesser Mallow flower Yeleswaram EastGodavari
Hibiscus hirtus
Hibiscus lobatus (Lahan Jaswand) in Hyderabad, AP W IMG 9075
Hibiscus lobatus
Hibiscus hispidissimus at Kadavoor
Hibiscus hispidissimus (wild hibiscus)

Symbolism and culture

The hibiscus is a national symbol of Haiti and the national flower of nations including the Solomon Islands and Niue. Hibiscus syriacus is the national flower of South Korea, and Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the national flower of Puerto Rico And Malaysia. The red hibiscus is the flower of the Hindu goddess Kali, and appears frequently in depictions of her in the art of Bengal, India, often with the goddess and the flower merging in form. The hibiscus is used as an offering to goddess Kali and Lord Ganesha in Hindu worship.

In the Philippines, the gumamela (local name for hibiscus) is used by children as part of a bubble-making pastime. The flowers and leaves are crushed until the sticky juices come out. Hollow papaya stalks are then dipped into this and used as straws for blowing bubbles. Together with soap, hibiscus juices produce more bubbles.

The hibiscus flower is traditionally worn by Tahitian and Hawaiian girls. If the flower is worn behind the left ear, the woman is married or in a relationship. If the flower is worn on the right, she is single or openly available for a relationship. The hibiscus is Hawaii's state flower.

Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie named her first novel Purple Hibiscus after the delicate flower.

The bark of the hibiscus contains strong bast fibres that can be obtained by letting the stripped bark set in the sea to let the organic material rot away.

Landscaping

Many species are grown for their showy flowers or used as landscape shrubs, and are used to attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

Hibiscus is a very hardy, versatile plant and in tropical conditions it can enhance the beauty of any garden. Being versatile it adapts itself easily to balcony gardens in crammed urban spaces and can be easily grown in pots as a creeper or even in hanging pots. It is a perennial and flowers through the year. As it comes in a variety of colors, it's a plant which can add vibrancy to any garden.

The only infestation that gardeners need to be vigilant about is mealybug. Mealybug infestations are easy to spot as its clearly visible as a distinct white cottony infestation on buds, leaves or even stems. To protect the plant you need to trim away the infected part, spray with water, and apply an appropriate pesticide.

Paper

One species of Hibiscus, known as kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus), is extensively used in paper-making.

Beverage

The tea made of hibiscus flowers is known by many names in many countries around the world and is served both hot and cold. The beverage is well known for its red color, tartness and unique flavor. Additionally, it is highly nutritious because of its vitamin C content.

It is known as bissap in West Africa, "Gul e Khatmi" in Urdu & Persian, agua de jamaica in Mexico and Central America (the flower being flor de jamaica) and Orhul in India. Some refer to it as roselle, a common name for the hibiscus flower. In Jamaica, Trinidad and many other islands in the Caribbean, the drink is known as sorrel (Hibiscus sabdariffa; not to be confused with Rumex acetosa, a species sharing the common name sorrel). In Ghana, the drink is known as soobolo in one of the local languages.

In Cambodia, a cold beverage can be prepared by first steeping the petals in hot water until the colors are leached from the petals, then adding lime juice (which turns the beverage from dark brown/red to a bright red), sweeteners (sugar/honey) and finally cold water/ice cubes.

In Egypt, Sudan and the Arab world, hibiscus tea is known as karkadé (كركديه), and is served as both a hot and a cold drink.

Food

Dried hibiscus is edible, and it is often a delicacy in Mexico. It can also be candied and used as a garnish, usually for desserts.

The roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is used as a vegetable. The species Hibiscus suratensis Linn synonymous to Hibiscus aculeatus G. Don is noted in Visayas in the Philippines as being a souring ingredient for almost all local vegetables and menus. Known as labog in the Visayan area, (or labuag/sapinit in Tagalog), the species is an ingredient in cooking native chicken soup.

Hibiscus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some lepidopteran species, including Chionodes hibiscella, Hypercompe hambletoni, the nutmeg moth, and the turnip moth.

MyHybis
reddish-yellow hybiscus

Folk medicine

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is described as having a number of medical uses in Indian Ayurveda .

Species

There are many types (species) of Hibiscus. The most popular ones in gardens are:

  • Hibiscus brackenridgei (Hawaiian hibiscus)
  • Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (Chinese hibiscus)
  • Hibiscus syriacus (garden hibiscus)

Hibiscus trionum is a common weed in gardens and farms.

Images for kids


Hibiscus Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.