[hI bis'kus] a genus of about 200-220
species of flowering plants native to warm
temperate, subtropical and tropical regions
throughout the world
The genus Hibiscus
includes both annual and perennial herbaceous
plants, woody shrubs, and small trees. 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, measuring up to 6 inches across. In
the wild, hibiscus flowers range in color from
white to brilliant red, purple or yellow. The
fruit is a dry five-lobed capsule, containing
several seeds in each lobe, which are released
when the capsule splits open at maturity.
||The Swamp Rose
Mallow, Hibiscus moscheutos,
grows wild in marshes in the eastern
United States, sometimes growing 7 feet
high. It has white or pink flowers 4 to 7
||The Rose of
Sharon, Hibiscus syriacus,
is native to Asia, and is the national
flower of South Korea. Gardeners in the
United States often cultivate it as a
small tree or shrub for borders and
background. Its flowers resemble those of
rosa-sinensis, is the national
flower of Malaysia. It has striking
blossoms that the Chinese sometimes use
to stain their eyebrows and teeth.
Hibiscus sabdariffa, is used as
a vegetable and to make herbal teas and
jams, especially in the Caribbean.
Hibiscus cannabinus, is
extensively used in paper making.
Hibiscus esculentus, is a summer
annual of the vegetable garden. Its
sticky pods are used in soups and stews.
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