Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
Hibiscus Brilliant.jpg
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Brilliant'
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Malvales
Family: Malvaceae
Subfamily: Malvoideae
Tribe: Hibisceae
Genus: Hibiscus
H. rosa-sinensis
Binomial name
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
  • Hibiscus arnottii Griff. ex Mast.
  • Hibiscus boryanus DC.
  • Hibiscus cooperi auct.
  • Hibiscus festalis Salisb.
  • Hibiscus liliiflorus Griff. ex Mast.
  • Hibiscus rosiflorus Stokes
  • Hibiscus storckii Seem.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, known colloquially as Chinese hibiscus,[2]China rose,[2]Hawaiian hibiscus,[2]rose mallow[3] and shoeblack plant,[4] is a species of tropical hibiscus, a flowering plant in the Hibisceae tribe of the family Malvaceae. It is widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions, but is not known in the wild, so that its native distribution is uncertain.[5] An origin in some part of tropical Asia is likely.[2] It is widely grown as an ornamental plant in the tropics and subtropics.

Solid red flower
Pollen parent
Pink and white flower
Pod parent
Yellow and pink flower
One offspring
White flower
Another offspring
Example: two crosses of 'King Kalakaua' and 'Mystic Pink'. The photographs demonstrate that the flowers of the offspring plants have almost no color characteristics of the parent plants, and few of the physical characteristics.


Flower and bud

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is a bushy, evergreen shrub or small tree growing 2.5–5 m (8–16 ft) tall and 1.5–3 m (5–10 ft) wide, with glossy leaves and solitary, brilliant red flowers in summer and autumn. The five-petaled flowers are 10 cm (4 in) in diameter, with prominent orange-tipped red anthers.[6] Cultivars and hybrids have flowers in a variety of colors as well as red: white to pink, orange, peach, yellow and purple. Some have double flowers.[7]

China Rose

At the bottom of every hibiscus bud is the calyx which is green in color. The pointed ends of the calyx are the sepals. When the hibiscus begins to bloom, the petals begin to grow which contains multiple petals and multiple colors. The ovary and other female parts of the flower lie in the main structure of the hibiscus, the pistil, which is long and tubular. The hibiscus has both male and female parts on the same flower. The five hairy red spots on the top of the flower is the stigma (female part) of the flower. The stigma is located at the end of the style branch. At the top of the pistil is known as the stigma, where pollen is collected, and in the middle is the style, which is the section that the pollen travels down to the ovary. The ovary lies at the bottom of the blossom and the hibiscus has only one ovary which is superior.

The male part (stamen) of the flower consists of stem-like filaments and each filament ends with the pollen-producing anther. The anthers, which release the pollen, sits on the filament and these two organs make up the stamen, the male part of the flower. Overall, the hibiscus is a dicot, with solitary (axillary), complete, perfect flowers, which have a superior ovary, regular symmetry, and axile placentation. They have five carpels, five locules, five sepals, and the number of stamens may vary.

The root is a branched tap root. The stem is aerial, erect, green, cylindrical and branched. The leaf is simple, with alternate phyllotaxy and is petiolate. The leaf shape is ovate, the tip is acute and margin is serrated. Venation is unicostate reticulate. (Venation is branched or divergent.) Free lateral stipules are present.


Hibiscus rosa-sinensis was first described in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus in Species Plantarum.[8] The specific epithet rosa-sinensis literally means "rose of China", though it is not closely related to the true roses.[9] The genus Hibiscus is placed in the tribe Hibisceae, subfamily Malvoideae of the family Malvaceae.[10]


Despite its size and red hues, which are attractive to nectarivore birds, it is not visited regularly by hummingbirds when grown in the Neotropics. Generalist species, like the sapphire-spangled emerald, Amazilia lactea, or long-billed species, like the stripe-breasted starthroat, Heliomaster squamosus, are occasionally seen to visit it, however.[11] In the subtropical and temperate Americas, hummingbirds are regularly attracted to it.[12]

The endangered Papilio homerus butterfly, the largest in the western hemisphere, is known to feed on the nectar of the Hibiscus.[13]

The stamens of the flower are partly fused into a cylinder that surrounds the style


Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is one of many plant species with a genetic characteristic known as polyploidy, in which there are more than two complete sets of chromosomes, unlike most other species.[14] A side effect of polyploidy is a condition where the phenotype of the offspring may be quite different from the parent, or indeed any ancestor, essentially allowing possibly random expression of all (or any) of the characteristics of all the generations that have gone before. Because of this characteristic, H. rosa-sinensis has become popular with hobbyists who cross and recross varieties, creating new named varieties and holding competitions to exhibit and judge the many resulting new seedlings and often strikingly unique flowers.[citation needed]


A white cultivar

The flowers of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis are edible and are used in salads in the Pacific Islands.[citation needed] The flower is additionally used in hair care as a preparation. It is also used to shine shoes in certain parts of India. It can also be used as a pH indicator. When used, the flower turns acidic solutions to a dark pink or magenta color and basic solutions to green. It is also used for the worship of Devi, and the red variety is especially prominent, having an important part in tantra. In the Bengal area of eastern India, the red variety of this flower is used to worship Kali. In Indonesia, these flowers are called "kembang sepatu", which literally means "shoe flower".[15] In several countries the flowers are dried to use in a beverage, usually tea.

Pink Hibiscus in South India

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is considered to have a number of medical uses in Chinese herbology.[16] Traditional uses in China have been to make a black shoe-polish from its flower petals, or to make a woman's black hair dye.[17] The flowers are also used in parts of China to color various intoxicating liquors.[17] The plant may have some potential in cosmetic skin care; for example, an extract from the flowers of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis has been shown to function as an anti-solar agent by absorbing ultraviolet radiation.[18]


It is widely grown as an ornamental plant throughout the tropics and subtropics. As it does not tolerate temperatures below 10 °C (50 °F), in temperate regions it is best grown under glass. However, plants in containers may be placed outside during the summer months or moved into shelter during the winter months.[6][19]

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. The cultivar 'Cooperi' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[3][20]

National symbol

A dark pink cultivar

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the national flower of Malaysia, called bunga raya (literally: great flower) in Malay. Introduced into the Malay Peninsula in the 12th century, it was nominated as the national flower in the year 1958 by the Ministry of Agriculture amongst a few other flowers, namely ylang ylang, jasmine, lotus, rose, magnolia, and medlar. On 28 July 1960, it was declared by the government of Malaysia that Hibiscus rosa-sinensis would be the national flower.

The word bunga in Malay means "flower", while raya in Malay means "celebratory" or "grand". The Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is literally known as the "celebratory flower" in Malay. The red of the petals symbolizes the courage, life, and rapid growth of the Malaysian, and the five petals represent the five Rukun Negara of Malaysia. The flower can be found imprinted on the notes and coins of the Malaysian ringgit.

In Haiti, the flower has the character of an unofficial national flower, becoming used for a time, as a symbol of the country brand for the promotion of tourism, where it is known in Haitian Creole language as choeblack or rose kayenn.[21][22] In addition, it is the symbol of the Fusion of Haitian Social Democrats political party.

Cultural references


Cultivars with flowers of many colours are used as ornamental plants. Some are double or have differently shaped petals.

See also


  1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d "Hibiscus rosa-sinensis". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  3. ^ a b "RHS Plant Selector - Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Cooperi'". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  4. ^ "Hibiscus rosa-sinensis - Chinese Hibiscus, Shoeblackplant, Tropical Hibiscus, Red Hibiscus - Hawaiian Plants and Tropical Flowers". wildlifeofhawaii.com.
  5. ^ Blanchard Jr., Orland J. "Hibiscus rosa-sinensis". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America (online). eFloras.org. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  6. ^ a b RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 978-1405332965.
  7. ^ Phillips, Roger & Rix, Martyn (1998). Conservatory and Indoor Plants, Volume 1. London: Pan Macmillan. pp. 94–99. ISBN 978-0-330-37375-3.
  8. ^ Linnaeus, Carl (1753). "Hibiscus". Species Plantarum. 2. Impensis Laurentii Salvii. pp. 693ff.
  9. ^ Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. p. 224. ISBN 9781845337315.
  10. ^ "Genus: Hibiscus L." Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 30 October 2020.
  11. ^ Baza Mendonça & dos Anjos (2005)
  12. ^ "Hibiscus rosa-sinensis". tropicalplantbook.com.
  13. ^ Lehnert, Matthew S.; Kramer, Valerie R.; Rawlins, John E.; Verdecia, Vanessa; Daniels, Jaret C. (10 July 2017). "Jamaica's Critically Endangered Butterfly: A Review of the Biology and Conservation Status of the Homerus Swallowtail (Papilio (Pterourus) homerus Fabricius)". Insects. 8 (3): 68. doi:10.3390/insects8030068. PMC 5620688. PMID 28698508.
  14. ^ "IPCN Chromosome Reports".
  15. ^ "Kembang sepatu". KBBI (in Indonesian).
  16. ^ Plants for a Future: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis.
  17. ^ a b Standley, Paul C.; Blake, S. F. (1923). "Trees and Shrubs of Mexico (Oxalidaceae-Turneraceae)". Contributions from the United States National Herbarium. Washington, D.C.: Department of Botany, Smithsonian Institution. 23 (3): 781. JSTOR 23492504.
  18. ^ Nevade Sidram A., Sachin G. Lokapure and N.V. Kalyane. 2011. Study on anti-solar activity of ehanolic extract of flower of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Linn. Research Journal of Pharmacy and Technology 4(3): 472–473. Archived 24 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Gast, Ross H. "The Cultural Potential of the Hibiscus to Southern California". The Arboretum - arboretum.org. Archived from the original on 25 December 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  20. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 48. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  21. ^ "Hibiscus Flower".
  22. ^ "National symbols". Archived from the original on 29 May 2015.

External links