Common Names
Red Hibiscus, Chinese Rose

Hawaiian Name

Scientific Name
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis




Whole Plant



Location On Campus

 The Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (red hibiscus) is located on the back side of the Kaiona building room 52.

Natural Habitat

 The hibiscus is found in most of the Hawaiian islands such as O‘ahu, Maui, Big Island, Kaua'i, and Moloka'i. It will be able to survive in any type of environment (dry or wet). This plant can also grow on the beach if the soil is rich and well watered with good drainage. It blooms best in the sun.

Cultural Information

 This plant is introduced to Hawai'i. It is native to Asia (southern China). It is the state flower of Hawai'i and the national flower of Malaysia. Chinese pickle and eat the flowers when they are crushed the flowers are turned into black die. India uses this dye for blacking shoes. Chinese women uses the dye for coloring hair and eyebrows. The dye is used to color liquors and dye paper a bluish-purple tint.

Plant Description


  • Woody stem
  • Numerous stems
  • Strong and hard
  • Shrub or tree


  • Evergreen color
  • Pinnate venation
  • Serrate margin
  • Basic leaf structure is petiolate
  • 7.5 cm across
  • 7.5 cm long
  • Simple leaf


  • Five petals
  • Grows upright
  • Red bell shaped
  • 10 cm-17 cm in diameter


  • Reddish brown in color
  • Adult- pale brown capsules
  • Dry


  • Numerous seeds
  • Thin red pulp surround seeds
  • Red pulp used for coloring food

Life Cycle/

  • Lives for a long period of time
  • Estimated life span of 6-10 years


  • Propagated by stem and tip cuttings
  • May be propagated by seeds
  • Seeds will germinate more readily if seed coat is nicked with nail file
  • Grafting or rootstocks

Interesting Facts:

  • In China the plant is called Fu Sang
  • In India it's called sapatthu-mal meaning shoe-flower (petals used to shine shoes)
  • From the Mallow family

Web Site Links

 Plant of the Week: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Tropical Hibiscus Malvaceae

This website shows a picture and some cultural information.

 Hibiscus rosa sinensis

This website shows one picture and information on the physical elements of the plant



Clay, Horaces and James C. Hubbard. The Hawaii Garden; Tropical Shrubs. Hawaii: The University Press of Hawaii, 1977.

Culliney, John L. and Bruce P. Koebole. A native Hawaiian Garden. China: University of Hawaii Press, 1999.

Green, Peter S., and Mary Grierson. A Hawaiian Florilegium. Lawai: National Tropical Botanical Garden, 1996.

Merlin, Mark. Hawaiian Forest Plants. Honolulu: Pacific Guide books, 1995.

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