Hibiscus rosa-sinensis: Chinese Hibiscus

Family: Malvaceae
Common name: China rose, Chinese Hibiscus

A plant that’s present in all Asian and Indian gardens, it’s also called shoe-flower. This small, bushy shrub can grow to about 5 meters, though the average height is 2-3 meters. The most common flower is glossy red, 5-petaled with a prominent filament and stigma.

Flower colors could also be white, pink, orange, peach, yellow or purple; some of them having a beautiful mix of colors like white and pink, or yellow and red. The flowers and leaves are used in hair care; soaked leaves turning the water into a syrupy, shampoo-like liquid. Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis is also the national flower of Malaysia.

Propagation is mostly through stem cuttings, with good success rate.

Interesting facts:

  • It’s called a ‘shoe flower’ because it was used to polish shoes in olden days.
  • Women in some countries wear these flowers on their left or right ear to indicate marital status.
  • It’s used to make Hibiscus tea, curries, jams and chutneys.
  • The flowers are a rich source of Vitamin C.

Photo Courtesy: Durga Prasad