The rose mallow, a genus of mal-vaceoe, the mallow family, which differs from the common representatives of that family in having its fruit a pod, which is five-celled, and at maturity splits through the five valves without leaving a central axis. Hibiscus flower is also called the Shoe flower because of its shape. The flowers, which are large and showy, have the general structure peculiar to the order, as in the single hollyhock, immediately beneath the calyx is an involucre of numerous narrow bracts. The genus includes about 150 species of herbs, shrubs, and even trees, and is more abundant in tropical than temperate climates. The name is an ancient one of obscure meaning.
Hibiscus Trionum or Hibiscus Africanus :
A hispid branched annual, woody at the base.Leaves cordate, palmately lobed, lobes linear. Involucel bracts many, bristly. Flowers yellow with a purple centre. Leaves petioled, ovate or orbicular in outline, pedately 3-7-lobed or divided, the lobes obtuse, dentate-crenate or cleft, the middle one longer; flowers pale yellow with a purple eye, 2′ inches broad, axillary to the upper leaves, each one remaining open but a few hours; petals tinged with purple on the outer edge; bracts linear, ciliate, much shorter than the membranous beautifully nerved hispid-pubescent 5-angled inflated calyx; capsule globose-ovoid, hairy; seeds roughened with short processes. A very widely distributed plant, occurring in Asia, Australia, North and South Africa, and South of Europe.
Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis :
It is known colloquially as the Chinese hibiscus, China rose and shoe flower, is an evergreen flowering shrub. The flowers are large, generally red in the original varieties, and firm, but generally lack any scent. Numerous varieties, cultivars, and hybrids are available, with flower colors ranging from white through yellow and orange to scarlet and shades of pink, with both single and double sets of petals.
Hibiscus Syriacus or Althaea frutex :
Its is also known as althaea, or Rose of Sharon. A deciduous shrub, 6 to 8 feet high, with alternate 3-lobed toothed leaves and axillary flowers. There are many varieties, both single-and double-flowered, white, yellow, rose, purple, violet, and striped, with a darker coloured spot at the base of each petal. A desirable shrub, on account of its showy flowers being produced towards the end of Summer or beginning of Autumn.
Hibiscus palustris or Marsh Hibiscus :
It is found growing in some parts of New England, by the sides of streams; it has large pink flowers. The height and habits are like the last. They are easily propagated from seeds or divisions of the root. They succeed in any good garden soil; but flourish better in a moist low ground. It is well adapted for planting in the shrubbery.
Hibiscus Moscheutos or Swamp Rose-Mallow or Mallow Rose : Erect, 4°-7° high, forming numerous cane-like stems from a perennial root. Leaves ovate or ovate-lanceolate, 3′-7′ long, cordate or obtuse at the base, acute or acuminate at the apex, the lower or sometimes all lobed at the middle, palmately veined, dentate or crenate, densely white stellate-pubescent beneath, green and glabrous or slightly stellate above; petioles 1′-5′ long; flowers 4-7′ broad, pink, clustered on stout pedicels at the summits of the stems; peduncles often adnate to the petioles; bractlets linear, not ciliate, shorter than the calyx; calyx-lobes ovate; capsule ovoid, 1′ long, glabrous or sparingly pubescent, abruptly short-pointed or blunt; seeds glabrous.
- Hibiscus Oculiroseus Britton or Crimson-Eye Rose-Mallow : Similar to the preceding species in stems, foliage and pubescence, and about as high, the flowers about as large. Calyx-segments triangular-lanceolate, acute, nearly twice as long as wide; corolla white with a dark crimson center; capsule ovoid-conic, long-pointed.
- Hibiscus Incanus or Velvety Rose-Mallow : Perennial, erect, 6° high or less. Leaves ovate or broadly lanceolate, 4′-7′ long, acuminate at the apex, obtuse or subcordate at the base, dentate, rarely somewhat lobed, pale and finely velvety beneath, dark green above, long-petioled; bractlets linear, not ciliate, about half as long as the velvety calyx; calyx-segments ovate, acute or acuminate; petals white to pink, blotched at the base, 3′-4′ long; capsule ovoid, stellate-pubescent, rather shorter than the calyx.
- Hibiscus Lasiocarpus or Hairy-Fruited Rose-Mallow : Resembles the three preceding species. Leaves broadly ovate, dentate or 3-7-lobed, mostly cordate or truncate at the base; pubescence of the lower surface white and densely stellate, the upper surface darker, with longer soft mostly nearly simple hairs; bractlets of the involucels linear, equalling the calyx or shorter, ciliate; capsule ovoid, densely and finely hairy; seeds.nearly glabrous.
- Hibiscus Militaris or Halberd-Leaved Rose-Mallow or Sweating-Weed : Erect, 3°-5° high, nearly glabrous throughout. Leaves 4′-5′ long, ovate in outline, acute or acuminate, cordate or truncate at the base, the lower, or sometimes all, hastately lobed, the margins dentate-crenate; petioles 1′-6′ long; flowers pink with a darker eye, 2′-3′ long, axillary or clustered at the ends of the stem or branches; peduncles shorter than the petioles and jointed above the middle; bractlets of the involucels linear, slightly shorter than the calyx, glabrous, or with a few scattered hairs; fruiting calyx inflated; capsule ovoid, enclosed by the calyx, glabrous, or very nearly so; seeds silky.
- Hibiscus roseus : This, with its varieties militaris and palustris, is a native of North America; but in consequence of its having become naturalised in the neighbourhood of Bordeaux it is quoted as a native of France in many English books. It is a tall herbaceous perennial with enormous blossoms either purple or pink with a darker centre, appearing in August.
Hibiscus plant cultivation :
Hibiscus plants thrive in any good, coarse loam, with some well rotted manure added. They soon make large plants and need a liberal size pot, and plenty of water and syringing when growing. Their brilliant flowers come on the young growths. In winter they will do in a temperature of 50 degrees, and keep on the dry side. When starting them into more growth in April shorten back the shoots; the young growths will be all the stronger. The flowers are of various colors and are both single and double.
If left to itself, this will form a tall unshapely shrub 10 ft. or more high, with long swaying branches; it is usually kept closely pruned, and when cut back severely produces a profusion of flowers, which are like those of the hollyhock, but smaller; there are double varieties, which, as well as the single, range in color from white to deep purple. As it blooms late in summer, will grow in almost any soil, and presents such a great variety in its flowers, it is justly regarded as one of the most valuable ornamental shrubs. There is a variety with its leaves distinctly margined with white, but it does not flower freely.
Uses of Hibiscus :
- Oranamemtal plant.
- Hibiscus cannabinus one of the species of Hibiscus is used in paper making.
- Hibiscus tea is a popular natural diuretic, it contains vitamin C and minerals, and is used traditionally as a mild medicine. Dieters or people with kidney problems often take it without adding sugar for its beneficial properties and as a natural diuretic. Hibiscus tea also reduces blood pressure, its regular usage helps in controlling it.
- Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis is used for medical purpose in Ayurveda and Chinese herbology.