Monday, November 12, 2007

HIBISCUS - A PHOTO ESSAY

Hibiscus, or rosemallow, is a large genus of about 200–220 species of flowering plants, 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.

The leaves are alternate, simple, and ovate, 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.


Many species are grown for their showy flowers or used as landscape shrubs.

One species of Hibiscus, known as Kenaf is extensively used in paper making. Another, roselle, 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 (drink) 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.

The Hibiscus is used as an offering to Goddess Kali and Lord Ganesha in Hindu worship.

Hibiscus, especially white hibiscus is considered to have medicinal properties in the Indian traditional system of medicine, Ayurveda.

The natives of southern India use the Red hibiscus 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, 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.

The Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the national flower of Malaysia.

The ma‘o hau hele is the state flower of Hawai‘i.

The Hibiscus syriacus 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.

Source: Wikipedia

Flowers: The Greenhouse Nursery, Mannagudda, Mangalore

Photos: Lionel Aranha

Each flower is a soul blossoming out to nature

- Gerard De Nerval (French Poet, Essayist & Transalator)