Hibiscus Flower’s Life Cycle Stages
Hibiscus ( or ) is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae. The genus is quite large, comprising several hundred species that are native to warm-temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world. Member species are renowned for their large, 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 (c. 40–90) gave to Althaea officinalis.
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. Flower color in certain species, such as H. mutabilis and H. tiliaceus, changes with age. 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 hispidissimus (wild hibiscus)
Symbolism and culture
The hibiscus is the national flower of Haiti and is used in their national tourism slogan of Haïti: Experience It! The hibiscus species also represents several other nations, such as the Solomon Islands. The Hibiscus syriacus is the national flower of South Korea, and Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the national flower of 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.
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.
One species of Hibiscus, known as kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus), is extensively used in paper-making.
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, “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.
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.
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is described as having a number of medical uses in Chinese herbology.
Precautions and contraindications
Pregnancy and lactation
While the mechanism is not well understood, previous animal studies have demonstrated both an inhibitory effect of H. sabdariffa on muscle tone and the anti-fertility effects of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, respectively. The extract of H. sabdariffa has been shown to stimulate contraction of the rat bladder and uterus; the H.rosa-sinensis extract has exhibited contraceptive effects in the form of estrogen activity in rats. These findings have not been observed in humans. The Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is also thought to have emmenagogue effects which can stimulate menstruation and, in some women, cause an abortion. Due to the documented adverse effects in animal studies and the reported pharmacological properties, the H. sabdariffa and H.rosa-sinensis are not recommended for use during pregnancy. Additionally, they are not recommended while breastfeeding due to the lack of reliable information on its safety and use.
It is postulated that H. sabdariffa interacts with diclofenac, chloroquine and acetaminophen by altering the pharmacokinetics. In healthy human volunteers, the H. sabdariffa extract was found to reduce the excretion of diclofenac upon co-administration. Additionally, co-administration of Karkade (H. sabdariffa), a common Sudanese beverage, was found to reduce chloroquine bioavailability. However, no statistically significant changes were observed in the pharmacokinetics of acetaminophen when administered with the Zobo (H.sabdariffa) drink. Further studies are needed to demonstrate clinical significance.
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
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- ^ H.J.de Boer & C.Cotingting. Medicinal plants for women’s healthcare in Southeast Asia: a meta-analysis of their traditional use, chemical constituents, and pharmacology. J Ethnopharmacol. 151(2): 747-767. (2014)
- ^ Ali BH, Al Wabel N & Blunden G. Phytochemical, pharmacological and toxicological aspects of Hibiscus sabdariffa L.: a review. Phytother Res.19(5): 369-375.(2005)
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hibiscus.|
- American Hibiscus Society (AHS)
- Australian Hibiscus Society
- International Hibiscus Society
- Foundation for Revitalisation of Local Health Traditions
- Dressler, S.; Schmidt, M. & Zizka, G. (2014). “Hibiscus“. African plants – a Photo Guide. Frankfurt/Main: Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg.
The hibiscus is a delicate, attractive, sweet-smelling flower that has been a gardener’s delight for decades. It is a hardy plant and doesn’t require a “green thumb” to grow. There are many lovely varieties from which to choose..
Hibiscus is a member of the mallow family Malvaceae in the genus Hibiscus. The word “hibiscus” (marsh mallow) is derived by way of Latin from the Greek word hibisko. There are over 200 species of hibiscus in the mallow family.
One of the most popular is Hibiscus rosa-sinensis which originated in China.Hibiscus has a large flower that contains hundreds of species native to tropical, subtropical and warmer temperate areas of the world such as Africa, Madagascar and the Caribbean.
It is also known as rosemallow and in its natural habitats it commonly grows in thickets, forests and along rivers. The hibiscus flower has been seen growing in the wild in some areas of the United States such as Texas, Tennessee and Hawaii.
Cultural Significance and Symbolism:
In the western world the hibiscus is considered the symbol of delicate beauty. In Korea it is the symbol of immortality. Hibiscus is the state flower of Hawaii and Hibiscus syriacus is the national flower of South Korea.Hibiscus is used as an offering to Lord Ganesha and the Goddess Kali in the Hindu religion.
Description and Characteristics
Most hibiscus plants have simple, alternating leaves and large, trumpet-shaped flowers with five or more petals that come in a variety of colors.
Following are some varieties of hibiscus:
The Hibiscus grenache has large bright pink blossoms and deep green leaves. It is also known as rose mallow and grows best in fertile, well-drained soil that holds moisture well.
Hibiscus sabdariffa is a bush that has yellow hibiscus flowers and dark green leaves that are divided into five thin lobes. It likes to be fed and mulched well and kept very moist.
Common names for Hibiscus syriacus are Shrub Althea, Rose of Althea and Rose of Sharon. It has prolific flowering and comes in many shades of pinks, roses and white hibiscus flowers. The leaves have three lobes and it prefers full sun and hot weather.
Perennial hibiscus are those that bloom for several years. These hibiscus are becoming more favored each year by gardeners across the United States. They are easy to care for, come in many varieties of amazingly vibrant colors and will add beauty to the landscape for years to come.
Cultivation and Care
Plant hibiscus in nutrient rich soil that has good drainage. If a hibiscus plant is in poorly drained soil or is over watered it can easily develop root rot. Hibiscus should be planted in hot, sunny areas during the warm months of the year. Dig a hole only as deep as the root ball and 2 to 3 times as wide. Fill soil in the hole and water the plant.
This will cause the soil to sink and fill in the air pockets. Cover the indentation made by the water with additional soil and water the plant thoroughly. Pour a layer of organic mulch around the plant to hold in moisture and prevent weed growth.
Hibiscus care is not difficult. Water the plants only when the soil is very dry to the touch. Fertilize about every 3 weeks using low nitrogen fertilizer. During spring and summer use only half the label recommendation. Care of outdoor hibiscus includes carefully guarding your plants from insects and watching for signs of distress.
Pruning hibiscus is very important. Tip prune and pinch off branch tops to encourage growth further down the stem. Removing faded flowers will discourage insects that like to hide in curled up petals and leaves. Watch very closely for insects that could threaten the plants.
Hibiscus winter care includes moving plants in containers to a protected areas. Outdoor plants in the ground need to be covered when temperatures dip below freezing. Caring for hibiscus plants in this manner will reap rewards with vital, bushy and prolific flowering plants.
The hibiscus tree makes a wonderful decorative accessory for any room. Hibiscus tree care is very similar to that of the hibiscus bush. People often ask, “Can I plant my hibiscus tree outside?” You can plant a hibiscus tree outside in the same way as detailed above for a hibiscus bush. Plan carefully so that it is not placed to near other trees or flowers. Growing hibiscus trees need space to grow their roots and branches.
Diseases and Pests
Physiological, viral and fungal diseases can all attack hibiscus. When you buy hibiscus flowers examine them carefully to make sure they appear strong and healthy. Buy from a reputable nursery or garden center.
Physiological diseases often give the same symptoms as viral or fungal diseases but are actually caused by an unsuitable factor in the manner in which the plant has been grown. Examples of these are deficiencies in trace elements, too much or too little sun or shade, improper soil chemistry and improper irrigation. Some signs of physiological diseases are buds dropping or yellowing leaves.
Viral diseases may cause cupped leaves or mottling or deformation of the leaves. These diseases may be spread by insects or other affected plants. These plants are not as strong as others. There is no cure or treatment for viral diseases.
Fungal diseases will cause brownish or black spots on the leaves. Affected leaves should be taken off and burned and anti-fungal spray used on the plant. Various fungi may also cause rotting of the leaves or stems. These are usually caused by poor drainage or overwatering. Less watering, better drainage and the use of certain fungicides may help these plants.
Numerous insect pests infest hibiscus plants. These include chewing insects such as caterpillars and grasshoppers and sucking insects such as mealybugs, aphids, spider mites and white flies. Mealybugs and aphids excrete honeydew which attracts ants to the hibiscus plants. Many of these pests attack new leaves and buds and cause leaves to curl and plant parts to be malformed.
Japanese beetles are the most common insect pests of hibiscus in the United States. They will voraciously chew the leaves. Their larvae eat roots and bore holes in branches and stems. A good garden supply store or nursery can advise the best methods and products to rid plants of diseases and pests in a particular area. The Department of Agriculture for your locale will also have good advice.
In addition to the aesthetic pleasure this lovely hibiscus plant brings to gardens, it also will attract birds such as barbets, flycatchers and robins to eat insect pests. The large blossoms also lure useful pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Hibiscus are used for cut flowers and flowering plants to decorate gardens across the globe.
In the Okavango Delta of Botswana in southern Africa, hibiscus flowers are eaten when food is scarce. In some countries they are used for papermaking. Hibiscus sabdariffa are consumed as a vegetable and made into jams and herbal tea in the Caribbean.
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The health benefits of hibiscus tea, also known as Agua De Jamaica, include its ability to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, disturbed digestive and immune system, and inflammatory problems as well. It helps to cure liver diseases and reduces the risk of cancer. It can also speed up the metabolism and help in healthy, gradual weight loss. It is rich in vitamin C, minerals, and antioxidants and helps in the treatment of hypertension and anxiety.
Hibiscus tea is prepared by boiling parts of the hibiscus plant, known by its scientific name Hibiscus sabdariffa, particularly the flower. It is a very popular beverage throughout the world and is often used as a medicinal tea. Hibiscus flowers have various names and are known as “Roselle” in some places.
Hibiscus tea is ruby red in color and has a sour taste. Therefore, it is also known as sour tea and has a flavor similar to cranberry. It is widely available in the market throughout the tea-drinking world and can be consumed hot or cold depending on your preference. This tea is low in calories and is caffeine-free.
Health Benefits of Hibiscus Tea
The various benefits of hibiscus tea which would help in keeping the human body healthy and fit are given below. Find them out and get healthier!
Manages Blood Pressure
A report from the AHA (American Heart Association), published in November 2008, states that consuming this tea lowers the blood pressure in pre-hypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults. It also states that 1/3 of adults in the United States suffer from high blood pressure, which is also called hypertension. A study conducted by Odigie IP suggests that it has antihypertensive and cardioprotective properties that can be beneficial for people suffering from hypertension and those at high risks of cardiovascular diseases.
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, hibiscus tea can reduce blood pressure by up to 10 points, according to a research done at Tufts University in Boston. For this drastic improvement to occur, you need to regularly consume three cups of this tea every day for a few weeks. Also, it has diuretic properties that increase urination, simultaneously lower blood pressure.
It helps to lower the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol from the body, thereby helping to protect against heart diseases and protecting blood vessels from damage. The hypolipidemic and hypoglycemic properties of hibiscus tea can be beneficial for those who suffer from blood sugar disorders like diabetes. A research study conducted on patients with type II diabetes suggests that consumption of hibiscus sour tea lowers cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which helps to manage this unpredictable disease.
Research studies have also suggested that the antioxidant properties of hibiscus tea also help in treating liver diseases. Antioxidants help to protect your body from diseases because they neutralize the free radicals present in body tissues and cells. Therefore, we can confidently say that drinking hibiscus tea could increase your lifespan by maintaining good overall health.
Hibiscus tea contains hibiscus protocatechuic acid which has anti-tumor and antioxidant properties. A study conducted by the Department and Institute of Biochemistry at the Chung Shan Medical and Dental College, in Taichung, Taiwan suggests that hibiscus slows down the growth of cancerous cells by inducing apoptosis, commonly known as programmed cell death.
Anti-inflammatory & Antibacterial Agent
It is rich in ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C. It is an essential nutrient required by your body to boost and stimulate the activity of the immune system. Hibiscus tea is also known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Therefore, it prevents you from catching a cold and flu. It is also used to treat discomfort caused by fever, due to its cooling effect.
Relieves Menstrual Pain
The health benefits of hibiscus tea include relief from cramps and menstrual pain. It helps in restoring hormonal balance as well, which can reduce the symptoms of menstruation like mood swings, depression, and overeating.
Acts as Antidepressant Agent
Hibiscus tea contains vitamins and minerals like flavonoids which have antidepressant properties. Consumption of hibiscus tea can help to calm down the nervous system, and it may reduce anxiety and depression by creating a relaxed sensation in the mind and body.
Many people drink hibiscus tea to improve digestion. It regularizes both urination and bowel movements. Since it has diuretic properties, it is also used to treat constipation, which helps you lose weight and improve the health of your gastrointestinal system and avoid colorectal cancer.
Hibiscus tea is also used as a sports drink in order to satiate thirst. For this purpose, an iced form of hibiscus tea is typically consumed. Many people include it in their diet since this variety of tea has the ability to cool down the body very fast.
Hibiscus tea is beneficial for losing weight. If you consume food that is rich in carbohydrates, which means that it contains sugar and starch, you are likely to gain weight. However, studies have suggested that hibiscus extract lowers the absorption of starch and glucose and may help in weight loss. Hibiscus inhibits the production of amylase, which helps in the absorption of carbohydrates and starch, so drinking hibiscus tea prevents the absorption from occurring. Therefore, hibiscus tea is found in many weight loss products.
Summer and Winter Drink
You can drink hibiscus tea either as a hot tea or an iced tea. If you want to keep yourself warm in the winter, brew it and drink it straight away. It only takes few minutes to make. In case you do not want to drink it hot, perhaps in the summer, you have the option to drink hibiscus iced tea. It takes about 20 minutes for preparation, and then you can cool yourself off in a healthy, refreshing way.
Hibiscus tea has a taste that is very similar to cranberry juice. It can definitely be described as tart, so you can add sugar or honey to increase the sweetness. Also, you can try adding spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger depending on your taste.
Side Effects of Hibiscus Tea
Although hibiscus tea is a health enhancer and a natural weight loss booster, there are possible side effects you should be aware of.
Blood Pressure: The health benefits of hibiscus tea include lowering blood pressure (anti-hypertensive property). Therefore, it is not recommended for people who already have low blood pressure, a condition called hypotension. It may cause faintness, dizziness, and can even damage the heart or brain if consumed by anyone with low blood pressure.
Pregnancy and Fertility: Hibiscus tea is not recommended for pregnant women, particularly due to its emmenagogic effects which may stimulate menstruation or blood flow in the uterus or pelvic region. For those undergoing hormonal treatments or taking birth control pills, it is recommended to consult your health specialist regarding consumption of hibiscus tea.
Hallucinatory Effect: Some people may feel intoxicated or experience hallucination after drinking hibiscus tea. Therefore, be cautious until you know how your body reacts to the tea. Don’t drive a car or try anything particularly dangerous until you know what its effects are on your system.
Allergy: Some people develop allergic reactions such as itchy red eyes, sinus or hay fever when consuming hibiscus tea.
Not many people are aware that almost 15-30% of hibiscus tea is composed of organic acids. These acids are malic acid, tartaric acid, and citric acid. They are commonly found in fruits such as grapes and wine. They help in boosting the immunity, promoting better skin, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, managing inflammation, and improving digestive issues. Hibiscus tea has diuretic and choleretic effects, thus controlling blood viscosity by reducing blood pressure and enhancing digestion.
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