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Hibiscus facts for kids

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Red Hibiscus.jpg
A red hibiscus flower in Sydney, Australia during late Spring
Scientific classification

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 cooler climates. Hibiscus often become national or state flowers. For example, the yellow hibiscus is the state flower of Hawaii.

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


The leaves are alternate and either all oval (ovate) or oval on one end and tapering to a pointed end (lanceolate). They usually have jagged (toothed) or smooth (lobed) edges (margin). The flowers are large, showy, trumpet-shaped, with five or more petals; colored white, pink, red, orange, peach, yellow, or purple; and from 1.6 – 7 in (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.

Hibiscus Flower's Life Cycle Stages

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


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. Art from Bengal, India, shows Kali and the flower as one form. In Hindu worship, the hibiscus is offered to the goddess Kali and Lord Ganesha.

In the Philippines, the gumamela (the 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. When mixed with soap, hibiscus juices produce more bubbles.

The hibiscus is Hawaii's state flower. Both Tahitian and Hawaiian girls wear it behind one ear as a symbol of their relationship status. A hibiscus behind the left ear means that she is married or in a relationship. A hibiscus behind the right ear means she is single.


The bark of the hibiscus contains strong bast fibers that can be obtained by letting the stripped bark set in the sea to let the organic material rot away. Bast fibers come from the stem of a plant. They can be spun together into thread, string, or rope. They can be woven in fabric or in composite materials.

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


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 cramped urban spaces and can be easily grown in pots as a creeper or even in hanging pots. Its perennial species flowers throughout the year.

The only infestation that gardeners need to be vigilant about is mealybug. Mealybug infestations can be spotted by their distinct white cottony infestation on buds, leaves, or even stems. To protect the plant, trim away the infected part, spray with water, and apply an appropriate pesticide.


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


Dried hibiscus is edible and 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 is used as a souring agent and as an ingredient in chicken soup.

The nutmeg moth and the turnip moth eat Hibiscus species when they are in the larvae stage.

reddish-yellow hybiscus

Folk medicine

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is described as having several medical uses in Indian Ayurveda.


The most popular types (species) of Hibiscus in gardens are:

Hibiscus trionum is a common weed in gardens and farms.

Interesting facts about hibiscus

  • There are over 200 different species of hibiscus in the world.
  • Some hibiscus plants are annual and some are perennial.
  • Hibiscus can be a plant, a woody shrub, or even a small tree.
  • Hibiscus flowers can be rubbed on leather shoes to bring back their shine.
  • The flower can be used to make natural dyes or food coloring.
  • The leaves and flowers of a hibiscus plant can be made into a pleasant-smelling shampoo.
  • The yellow hibiscus, Hawaii's state flower, is endangered.

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Hibiscus para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Distinguished Hispanic diplomats
Bill Richardson
Horacio Rivero Jr
Julissa Reynoso Pantaleón
Edward C. Prado
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