Floral Friday: Miniature Hibiscus

Giant Hibiscus (1 of 1)

Good morning from a windy Hastings day.  Rain is forecast this weekend which is badly needed.

We are already in Friday as I am writing this so it is time for some more floral photos.  On Marine Parade in Napier I found these huge hibiscus plants.  The flowers were just about bigger than the plant itself.

Giant Hibiscus Pink (1 of 1)

Giant Pink Hibiscus (1 of 1)

They made quite a show.

I did some research about these showy flowers and there is more to these blooms that these large blooms:

Hibiscus (/hɨˈbɪskəs/[2] or /hˈbɪskəs/[3]) is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae. It is quite large, containing several hundred species that are native to warm-temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world. Member species are often noted for their showy flowers and are commonly known simply as hibiscus, or less widely known as rose mallow. The genus includes both annual and perennial herbaceous plants, as well as woody shrubs and small trees. The generic name is derived from theGreek word ἱβίσκος (hibískos), which was the name Pedanius Dioscorides (ca. 40–90) gave to Althaea officinalis.[4]

Symbolism and culture

Hibiscus species represent nations: Hibiscus syriacus is the national flower of South Korea, and Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the national flower of Malaysia. The hibiscus is the national flower of Haiti. The red hibiscus is the flower of the Hindu goddess Kali, and appears frequently in depictions of her in the art of Bengal, India, often with the goddess and the flower merging in form. The hibiscus is used as an offering to goddess Kali and Lord Ganesha in Hindu worship.

In the Philippines, the gumamela (local name for hibiscus) is used by children as part of a bubble-making pastime. The flowers and leaves are crushed until the sticky juices come out. Hollow papaya stalks are then dipped into this and used as straws for blowing bubbles.

The hibiscus flower is traditionally worn by Tahitian and Hawaiian girls. If the flower is worn behind the left ear, the woman is married or in a relationship. If the flower is worn on the right, she is single or openly available for a relationship. The hibiscus is Hawaii’s state flower.

Beverage

Main article: Hibiscus tea

The tea made of hibiscus flowers is known by many names in many countries around the world and is served both hot and cold. The beverage is well known for its color, tanginess and flavor.

It is known as bissap in West Africa, agua de jamaica in Mexico and Honduras (the flower being flor de jamaica) and gudhal (गुड़हल) in India. Some refer to it as roselle, a common name for the hibiscus flower. In Jamaica, Trinidad and many other islands in the Caribbean, the drink is known as sorrel (Hibiscus sabdariffa; not to be confused with Rumex acetosa, a species sharing the common name sorrel). In Ghana, the drink is known as soobolo in one of the local languages.

Roselle is typically boiled in an enamel-coated large stock pot as most West Indians believe the metal from aluminum, steel or copper pots will destroy the natural minerals and vitamins.[citation needed]

In Cambodia, a cold beverage can be prepared by first steeping the petals in hot water until the colors are leached from the petals, then adding lime juice (which turns the beverage from dark brown/red to a bright red), sweeteners (sugar/honey) and finally cold water/ice cubes.

In Egypt,[citation needed] Sudan and the Arab world, hibiscus tea is known as karkadé (كركديه), and is served as both a hot and a cold drink.

Food

Dried hibiscus is edible, and it is often a delicacy in Mexico. It can also be candied and used as a garnish.[7]

The roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is used as a vegetable. The species Hibiscus suratensis Linn synonymous to Hibiscus aculeatus G. Don is noted in Visayas Philippines being a souring ingredient for almost all local vegetables and menus. Known as Labog in the Visayan area, (or Labuag/Sapinit in Tagalog), the species is a very good ingredient in cooking native chicken soup. Certain species of hibiscus are also beginning to be used more widely as a natural source of food coloring (E163),[citation needed] and replacement of Red #3 / E127.[citation needed]

Hibiscus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidopteran species, including Chionodes hibiscella, Hypercompe hambletoni, the nutmeg moth, and the turnip moth.

Health benefits

The tea is popular as a natural diuretic; it contains vitamin C and minerals, and is used traditionally as a mild medicine.

A 2008 USDA study shows consuming hibiscus tea lowers blood pressure in a group of prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults. Three cups of tea daily resulted in an average drop of 8.1 mmHg in their systolic blood pressure, compared to a 1.3 mmHg drop in the volunteers who drank the placebo beverage. Study participants with higher blood pressure readings (129 or above) had a greater response to hibiscus tea: their systolic blood pressure went down by 13.2 mmHg. These data support the idea that drinking hibiscus tea in an amount readily incorporated into the diet may play a role in controlling blood pressure, although more research is required.[8]

Studies have demonstrated the anti-hypertensive effects of H. sabdariffa in both humans and animals.[9] It has been proposed that the antihypertensive effects of H. sabdariffa is due to itsangiotensin-converting enzyme inhibiting activity.[10] In a randomized, controlled clinical trial involving 39 patients with mild to moderate hypertension, Captopril was compared to an extract ofH. sabdariffa for antihypertensive effects. Subjects taking an extract of H.sabdariffa, consumed daily before breakfast for four weeks, found reduction in blood pressure similar to Captopril.[11]Another randomized, placebo clinical trial involving 54 study participants with moderate hypertension demonstrated a reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. However upon discontinuation of treatment, both systolic and diastolic blood pressures were subsequently elevated.[12]

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis has a number of medical uses in Chinese herbology.[13] Lokapure Sachin.G.et al. their research indicates 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.[14]

In the Indian traditional system of medicine, Ayurveda, hibiscus, especially white hibiscus and red hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), is considered to have medicinal properties. The roots are used to make various concoctions believed to cure ailments such as cough, hair loss or hair greying. As a hair treatment, the flowers are boiled in oil along with other spices to make a medicated hair oil. The leaves and flowers are ground into a fine paste with a little water, and the resulting lathery paste is used as a shampoo plus conditioner.

Hibiscus tea also contains bioflavonoids, which are believed to help prevent an increase in LDL cholesterol, which can increase the buildup of plaque in the arteries.[15]

A previous animal study demonstrated the effects of H.sabdariffa extract on atherosclerosis in rabbits. Notably, a reduction in triglyceride, cholesterol, and low-density lipoproteinwas observed in rabbits consuming a high cholesterol diet (HCD) in addition to H.sabdariffa extract compared to rabbits only fed HCD, suggesting a beneficial effect.[16]Furthermore, the H. sabdariffa seed is abundant in phytosterol and tocopherol, plant forms of cholesterol that have antioxidant and LDL cholesterol lowering effects.[17]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibiscus

I think I might go and brew up some of this tea.

FFF

Thanks for visiting.

Cheers

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