In our country, the Philippines, we call this flower Gumamela. Known to be a “complete flower”, we either have a drawing of gumamela used by our Science teacher to teach us the parts of the flower or we had to bring a flower to class in order to have a closer look at its parts.
Aside from it being always a part of our gardens, there are actually many other things we need to know about this interesting flower.
1. The Hibiscus flower is traditionally worn by Hawaiian women. The flower is tucked behind their ears.
2. One specie of Hibiscus, known as Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus), is extensively used in paper making.
3. The Hibiscus is used as an offering to Goddess Kali and Lord Ganesha in Hindu worship.
4. In Polynesia, fibers of hibiscus (fau, purau) are used for making grass skirts.
5. The red calyces of the Hibiscus plant are increasingly exported to America and Europe, where they are used as food colorings.
6. Hibiscus syriacus is the national flower of South Korea.
7. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the national flower (Bunga Raya) of Malaysia.
8. In Myanmar, the Hibiscus green leaves are the main ingredient in making chin baung kyaw curry.
9. Roselle, another specie of Hibiscus has antihypertensive properties.
10. Hibiscus is considered to have medicinal properties in the Indian traditional system of medicine, Ayurveda. Roots make various concoctions believed to cure various ailments.
11. Dried hibiscus is edible, and is often a delicacy in Mexico
12. Hibiscus, specifically Roselle,has been used in folk medicine as a diuretic, mild laxative, and treatment for cardiac and nerve diseases and cancer.
13. The heated leaves are applied to cracks in the feet and on boils and ulcers to speed maturation.
14. A lotion made from Hibiscus leaves is used on sores and wounds.
15. The seeds are said to be diuretic and tonic in action and the brownish-yellow seed oil is claimed to heal sores on camels.