Hibiscus

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For other uses, see Hibiscus (disambiguation).
Hibiscus
Hibiscus flower TZ.jpg
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Angiosperms
Class: Eudicots
Order: Malvales
Family: Malvaceae
Subfamily: Malvoideae
Tribe: Hibisceae
Genus: Hibiscus
L.
Species

232 species

Synonyms

Bombycidendron Zoll. & Moritzi
Bombycodendron Hassk.
Brockmania W.Fitzg.
Pariti Adans.
Wilhelminia Hochr.[1]

Hibiscus (/hɨˈbɪskəs/[2] or /hˈbɪskəs/[3]) is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae. It is quite large, containing several hundred species that are native to warm-temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world. Member species are often noted for their showy flowers and are commonly known simply as hibiscus, or less widely known as rose mallow. The genus includes both annual and perennial herbaceous plants, as well as woody shrubs and small trees. The generic name is derived from the Greek word ἱβίσκος (hibískos), which was the name Pedanius Dioscorides (ca. 40–90) gave to Althaea officinalis.[4]

Description[edit]

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, purple or yellow, and from 4–18 cm broad. Flower color in certain species, such as H. mutabilis and H. tiliaceus, changes with age.[5] 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.

Uses[edit]

A white Hibiscus arnottianus in Hawaii.
Hibiscus hispidissimus (Wild Hibiscus)

Symbolism and culture[edit]

Hibiscus species represent nations: Hibiscus syriacus is the national flower of South Korea, and Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the national flower of Malaysia. The hibiscus is the national flower of the Haiti. 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.

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[edit]

Many species are grown for their showy flowers or used as landscape shrubs, and are used to attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.[6]

Paper[edit]

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

Beverage[edit]

Main article: Hibiscus tea

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 color, tanginess and flavor.

It is known as bissap in West Africa, agua de jamaica in Mexico and Honduras (the flower being flor de jamaica) and gudhal (गुड़हल) 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.

Roselle is typically boiled in an enamel-coated large stock pot as most West Indians believe the metal from aluminum, steel or copper pots will destroy the natural minerals and vitamins.[citation needed]

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,[citation needed] Sudan and the Middle East, hibiscus tea is known as karkadé (كركديه) and is served as both a hot and a cold drink.

Food[edit]

Dried hibiscus is edible, and it is often a delicacy in Mexico. It can also be candied and used as a garnish.[7]

The roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is used as a vegetable.

Certain species of hibiscus are also beginning to be used more widely as a natural source of food coloring (E163),[citation needed] and replacement of Red #3 / E127.[citation needed]

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.

Health benefits[edit]

Hibiscus bud
Hibiscus stigma

The tea is popular as a natural diuretic; it contains vitamin C and minerals, and is used traditionally as a mild medicine.

A 2008 USDA study shows consuming hibiscus tea lowers blood pressure in a group of prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults. Three cups of tea daily resulted in an average drop of 8.1 mmHg in their systolic blood pressure, compared to a 1.3 mmHg drop in the volunteers who drank the placebo beverage. Study participants with higher blood pressure readings (129 or above) had a greater response to hibiscus tea: their systolic blood pressure went down by 13.2 mmHg. These data support the idea that drinking hibiscus tea in an amount readily incorporated into the diet may play a role in controlling blood pressure, although more research is required.[8]

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis has a number of medical uses in Chinese herbology.[9] Lokapure s.g.et al. their research indicates some potential in cosmetic skin care; for example, an extract from the flowers of Hibiscus rosa- sinensis has been shown to function as an anti-solar agent by absorbing ultraviolet radiation.[10]

In the Indian traditional system of medicine, Ayurveda, hibiscus, especially white hibiscus and red hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), is considered to have medicinal properties. The roots are used to make various concoctions believed to cure ailments such as cough, hair loss or hair greying. As a hair treatment, the flowers are boiled in oil along with other spices to make a medicated hair oil. The leaves and flowers are ground into a fine paste with a little water, and the resulting lathery paste is used as a shampoo plus conditioner.

Hibiscus tea also contains bioflavonoids, which are believed to help prevent an increase in LDL cholesterol, which can increase the buildup of plaque in the arteries.[11]

Species[edit]

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.

Several hundred species are known, including:

Formerly placed here[edit]

Photos[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Genus: Hibiscus L". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2007-10-05. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary
  3. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  4. ^ Lawton, Barbara Perry (2004). Hibiscus: Hardy and Tropical Plants for the Garden. Timber Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-88192-654-5. 
  5. ^ Lee, David Webster (2007). Nature's Palette: the Science of Plant Color. University of Chicago Press. p. 183. ISBN 978-0-226-47052-8. 
  6. ^ Floridata: Plants That Attract Butterflies
  7. ^ Nation's Restaurant News: Hibiscus blossoms as a food, drink ingredient
  8. ^ Study Shows Consuming Hibiscus Tea Lowers Blood Pressure (accessed 05/10/2009)
  9. ^ Plants for a Future: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. (accessed 07/05/2009)
  10. ^ Nevade Sidram A., Sachin G. Lokapure and N.V. Kalyane. 2011. Study on anti-solar activity of ehanolic extract of flower of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Linn. Research Journal of Pharmacy and Technology 4(3): 472–473.
  11. ^ http://www.poundoftea.com/benefits-of-hibiscus-flower-tea/
  12. ^ Bussmann, R. W., et al. (2006). Plant use of the Maasai of Sekenani Valley, Maasai Mara, Kenya. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed 2 22.
  13. ^ "GRIN Species Records of Hibiscus". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2011-02-10. 

External links[edit]