Hibiscus Flower Meaning. Learn more about this beautiful flowerRed flowers
Hibiscus is a flower that is native to tropical regions throughout the world. We can often see them in vacation holiday pictures or postcards sent from Hawaii. These are also the same flowers that beautiful island girls wear behind their ears. Hibiscus is a large flower that belongs to the Malvaceae family. It has a shape like a trumpet and there are about 300 species of them. Let’s take a look at the hibiscus flower meaning, history, and other interesting facts.
Hibiscus flower meaning
To begin with, we should point out that the meaning of this flower can be different from each culture’s perspective. But there are similarities among all of those cultures and there are a few general meanings of hibiscus.
Hibiscus is mostly known as a flower of Hawaii, where it is the official state flower. Hawaiians associate it with power, respect, and hospitality.
It is a symbol of femininity. That’s why it is such a popular flower among the island girls. In Hawaii or Tahiti, a hibiscus flower tucked behind the right ear also symbolizes that the woman is single and looking for a relationship. So, generally one of the main hibiscus flower meaning is love and femininity.
In China, hibiscus flower is a symbol of wealth and glory. Hibiscus Syriacus is also a national flower of South Korea. The Korean scientific name of this flower is mugunghwa, which comes from another word mugung, and it means eternity and immortality.
Hibiscus is also the flower of the Hindu goddess Kali. It is an offering to the Goddess because it represents her tongue. Another Hindu deity Ganesha also adores hibiscus because of its ability to emit divine consciousness.
When in 1957 Malaysia regain its independence, the nation needed a flower that would symbolize its identity. In 1960 people of Malaysia voted for their national flower and chose Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis. Malaysians call this flower Bunga Raya. In Malay, Bunga means ‘flower’, while Raya means ‘festive’. So, in Malaysia hibiscus is a symbol of celebration because it expresses their independence.
Meanings by color
Since there are hundreds of color variations of hibiscus flower, it’s impossible to assign an individual meaning to each shade. But, as with any other flower, hibiscus may also symbolize different things according to the color.
→ Click here ← if you want to learn more about other red flower meanings
White hibiscus is a symbol of femininity, beauty, and love. Yellow hibiscus meaning is happiness and luck. Pink may signify friendship, while purple hibiscus expresses mystery and knowledge. Red, the most popular hibiscus is, of course, a symbol of love.
The origins of hibiscus flower
The word hibiscus comes from the Greek name hibiskos which a greek botanist Pedanius Dioscorides gave to the mallow family. Hibiscus originated in Asia and the Pacific Islands. There are thousands of various colors of this flower except blue and black. The popularity of hibiscus in Hawaii increased around at the end of the 19th century.
Researchers believe that some of the plants came from China and then Hawaiians crossed them with native species. Later, the popularity of this plant spread to the US. In 1950, Norman Reasoner established the American Hibiscus Society.
Hibiscus is a popular flower in Australia as well. Researchers believe that the first hibiscus appeared at the beginning of the 19th century. But the popularity of the flower increased later when some plants were brought from India for landscaping Brisbane’s city council.
Medicinal properties of the hibiscus flower
All of the hibiscus flower species are edible. It belongs to the mallow family, and a popular marshmallow sweet is made from roots of a European Mallow. In the Pacific Islands, it is quite common to use the flowers of hibiscus in salads. Dried hibiscus is a very popular snack in Mexico and is sometimes used as a food decoration.
Hibiscus tea is a popular drink known all over the world. You can drink it both hot and cold. It is mostly known for its red color and a unique acidic taste. Hibiscus tea has high levels of vitamin C and helps to reduce high blood pressure. In India, some people use it to treat hair loss. It may also help to treat high cholesterol and digestive problems. In Africa, hibiscus tea was used to treat liver diseases and cold symptoms. Meanwhile, in ancient Egypt, hibiscus tea was used to lower body temperature, as well as treat heart diseases.
Hibiscus has many uses in traditional Chinese medicine. Ancient Chinese used hibiscus to make herbal mixtures which treat hair loss. They also used its petals to make a black hair dye. The flesh extracted from the leaves was used to treat wounds on the skin. An extract of hibiscus petals also works as an anti-solar agent.
Interesting facts about hibiscus
- Hibiscus has a lot of different names. Most common ones are rose mallow, Chinese hibiscus, China rose, Hawaiian hibiscus rose of Sharon. But people mostly identify it as simply hibiscus.
- In Indonesia, people call hibiscus kembang sepatu, which means the shoe flower. The reason why they call it like that is because of its polishing properties. If you run out of shoe polish, and for some reason can’t find it in a store, a hibiscus flower might come in handy. To polish your leather shoes, just simply rub them with hibiscus petals.
- The reason why hibiscus tea has a strong, tart flavor is because of huge amounts of acids in it. Hibiscus contains citric, malic, tartaric and lactone acids.
- If you’d decide to grow hibiscus in your garden, you should know that this flower can only tolerate warm climate. So, if the temperature in your region drops below 50 °F, you won’t be able to grow them. But if the climate is perfect, you can make a small tree or an evergreen bush from it which can grow up to 16ft tall and 10ft wide. Also, hibiscus attracts a lot of butterflies, bees, and even hummingbirds!
- The fiber of Hibiscus cannabinus is used to make paper, rope, and cloth
Cover image via deaflatino