Common name: Bunga Raya, Bunga Pepulut, Chinese hibiscus, China rose, shoe flower,
Chinese: chijin 赤槿、riji 日及、fusang 扶桑、fosang 佛桑、hongfusang 红扶桑、hongmujin 红木槿、sangjin 桑槿、huohonghua 火红花、zhaodianhong 照殿红、songjin 宋槿、erhonghua 二红花、huashanghua 花上花、tuhonghua 土红花、jiamudan 假牡丹 and zhongguoqiangwei 中国蔷薇. (Each of these many names is from a different state in China, each state having its own name for the plant.)
Botanical name: Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis Linn.
It is widely grown as an ornamental plant throughout the tropics and subtropics. The flowers are large, generally red in the original varieties, and firm, but generally lack any scent. 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. Despite their size and red hues attractive to nectar-feeding birds, they are not visited regularly by hummingbirds when grown in the Neotropics. Generalists, 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. In the subtropical and temperate Americas, hummingbirds are attracted to them on a regular basis.
The Hibisucus rosa-sinensis was discovered and named by Carolus Linnaeus.
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the national flower of Malaysia, called Bunga Raya in Malay, dahonghua 大红花 in Chinese, Sembaruthi-செம்பருத்தி in Tamil, Gurhal/orhul in Hindi, Chemparathy in Malayalam, Wada Mal in Sinhala, and Mamdaram (మందారం) in Telugu.
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 bunga tanjung. On 28 July 1960, it was declared by the government of Malaysia that the hibiscus would be the national flower.
The word bunga in Malay means “flower”, whilst raya in Malay means “big”. The hibiscus is literally known as the “big 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.
Uses : Hibiscus flower preparations are used for hair care. The flowers themselves are edible and are used in salads in the Pacific Islands. The flowers are used to shine shoes in parts of India, as well as for the worship of Devi. In Indonesia, these flowers are called “kembang sepatu”, which literally means “flower of shoes”.