AskDefine | Define hibiscus

Dictionary Definition

hibiscus n : any plant of the genus Hibiscus

User Contributed Dictionary

see Hibiscus

English

Etymology

From Later Hibiscus < Latin hibiscum < Greek ἰβίσκος, the "marsh mallow"

Noun

  1. A flower of the genus Hibiscus, found in tropical to temperate regions
  2. A cocktail made with champagne and cranberry juice.

Translations

flower

Extensive Definition

Hibiscus, or rosemallow, is a large genus of about 200–220 species of flowering plants in the family Malvaceae (the mallow family, along with members like cocoa, cotton, okra, baobab and durian) native to warm temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world. The genus includes both annual and perennial herbaceous plants, and woody shrubs and small trees.

Description

The leaves are alternate, simple, ovate to lanceolate, often with a toothed or lobed margin. The flowers are large, conspicuous, trumpet-shaped, with five or more petals, ranging from white to pink, red, purple or yellow, and from 4-15 cm broad. The fruit is a dry five-lobed capsule, containing several seeds in each lobe, which are released when the capsule splits open at maturity.

Uses

Many species are grown for their showy flowers or used as landscape shrubs. Hibiscus is also a primary ingredient in many herbal teas.
One species of Hibiscus, known as Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus), is extensively used in paper making. Another, roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is used as a vegetable and to make herbal teas and jams (especially in the Caribbean). In Latin America, the drink is known as Jamaica and is quite popular. It is made from calyces of the roselle plant. In Egypt and Sudan, roselle petals make a tea named after the plant, karkade.
Hibiscus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Chionodes hibiscella, Hypercompe hambletoni, the Nutmeg moth, and the Turnip Moth.
The Hibiscus is used as an offering to Goddess Kali and Lord Ganesha in Hindu worship. The Gumamela or Hibiscus rosa sinensis linn flower has antifungal, emmenagogue, emollient and refrigerant effect.[240] The bark of the hibiscus contains strong fibers. They can be obtained by letting the stripped bark sit in the sea in order to let the organic material rot away. In Polynesia these fibers (fau, pūrau) are used for making grass skirts. They have also been known to be used to make wigs.
Hibiscus, especially white hibiscus, is considered to have medicinal properties in the Indian traditional system of medicine, Ayurveda. Roots make various concoctions believed to cure various ailments.
The natives of southern India uses the Red hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) for hair care purposes. The red flower and leaves, extracts of which can be applied on hair to tackle hair-fall and dandruff on the scalp. It is used to make hair protective oils. A simple application involves soaking the leaves and flowers in water and using a wet grinder to make a thick paste, and used as a natural shampoo.
Dried hibiscus is edible, and is often a delicacy in Mexico.

National symbol

The Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (Bunga Raya or "Chinese hibiscus") is the national flower of Malaysia.
The ma‘o hau hele (Hibiscus brackenridgei) is the state flower of Hawaii.
The Hibiscus syriacus (Mugunghwa or "Rose of Sharon") is the national flower of South Korea.
The Native Hibiscus is a national emblem of the Stolen Generation of indigenous peoples in Australia. Its colour denotes compassion and spiritual healing.

Species

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.
hibiscus in Arabic: كركديه
hibiscus in Bulgarian: Хибискус
hibiscus in Czech: Ibišek
hibiscus in Danish: Hibiscus
hibiscus in German: Hibiskus
hibiscus in Modern Greek (1453-): Ιβίσκος
hibiscus in Spanish: Hibiscus
hibiscus in French: Hibiscus
hibiscus in Upper Sorbian: Róžowa popla
hibiscus in Italian: Hibiscus
hibiscus in Hebrew: היביסקוס
hibiscus in Dutch: Hibiscus
hibiscus in Polish: Hibiskus
hibiscus in Portuguese: Hibiscus
hibiscus in Russian: Гибискус
hibiscus in Simple English: Hibiscus
hibiscus in Swedish: Hibiskusar
hibiscus in Vietnamese: Chi Dâm bụt
hibiscus in Chinese: 木槿属
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