Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L.

Protologue: Sp. pl. 2: 694 (1753).

Vernacular names

  • China rose, shoeflower (En).
  • Rose de Chine (Fr)
  • Indonesia: kembang sepatu (Indonesian), wora-wari (Javanese), waribang (Balinese)
  • Papua New Guinea: wavu wavu (Hula, Central Province), banban (Hisiu, Central Province), hangarou (Keregia, Morobe Province)
  • Philippines: gumamela, antolangan (Tagalog), kayanga (Iloko)
  • Cambodia: dok mai
  • Laos: kokdok may chiey
  • Thailand: chabaa (central), baa (peninsular), mai daeng (northern)
  • Vietnam: bông bụp, dâm bụt, hồng cận.


Cultivated throughout the world as an ornamental, in the tropics and subtropics in the open, often for hedges. The origin is uncertain, but possibly from East Africa.


The leaves and flowers are used to ripen boils and ulcers, and in general as an antiseptic. The flowers and bark are considered to have emmenagogic, galactagogue, purgative, even abortifacient properties. In Papua New Guinea, the roots are washed and chewed to treat diarrhoea.


  • An erect, much branched, glabrous shrub, 1-4 m tall.
  • Leaves ovate, 7-12 cm long, margins coarsely toothed, upper surface glossy; epicalyx with 7-9 linear lobes, calyx 2 cm long, bell-shaped, with ovate lobes.
  • Flowers about 10 cm in diameter, petals normally red, sometimes orange or white, staminal tube slender and longer than the corolla, red, anthers yellow, stigma red.

H. rosa-sinensis has an enormous polymorphism, and several varieties have been recognized. H. schizopetalus (Mast.) Hook.f., with finely dissected petals, is possibly just a cultivar of H. rosa-sinensis.

Selected sources


  • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, 1948-1976. The wealth of India: a dictionary of Indian raw materials & industrial products. 11 volumes. Publications and Information Directorate, New Delhi, India.407, 530, 531, 684, 788, 810, 908.