Hibiscus syriacus is a species of flowering plant in the mallow family, Malvaceae. It is native to areas of east Asia, but widely introduced elsewhere, including much of Europe and North America. It was given the epithet syriacus because it had been collected from gardens in Syria.[3][4][5] Common names include the rose of Sharon,[6] (especially in North America), Syrian ketmia,[7] shrub althea[8] (or simply althea[9][10]), and rose mallow (in the United Kingdom). It is the national flower of South Korea and is mentioned in the South Korean national anthem.[11]

Hibiscus syriacus
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Malvales
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Hibiscus
H. syriacus
Binomial name
Hibiscus syriacus
    • Althaea frutex Mill.
    • Hibiscus acerifolius Salisb.
    • Hibiscus rhombifolius Cav.
    • Ketmia syriaca (L.) Scop.
    • Ketmia syrorum Medik. nom. illeg.

Description edit

Hibiscus syriacus is a hardy deciduous shrub. It is upright and vase-shaped, reaching 2–4 m (7–13 feet) in height, bearing large trumpet-shaped flowers with prominent yellow-tipped white stamens.[12] The flowers are often pink in color, but can also be dark pink (almost purple), light pink or white. Individual flowers are short-lived, lasting only a day. However, numerous buds produced on the shrub's new growth provide prolific flowering over a long summer blooming period. The soil in which the Hibiscus thrives on is moist but well-drained, and organically rich.[13] Hibiscus syriacus is highly tolerant of air pollution, heat, humidity, poor soil and drought.[13] The species has naturalized very well in many suburban areas and might even be termed slightly invasive, so frequently does it seed.[2]

Hibiscus syriacus flower with Migrant hawker (Aeshna mixta)

Growth edit

The branches are thin and gray, white-lenticeled, with raised leaf scars and small buds. Stems and branches do not branch very much unless pruned, resulting in many long, straight stems that originate from about 1.5–4 cm (0.5–1.5 inches) above the ground, giving rise to the shrub's overall vase shape.[14] The leaves appear unusually late in the season, in May.[15] They are usually green or yellowish green, alternate, broadly ovate, palmately veined, and 7.5 cm (3 inches) long. They have three distinct lobes with coarsely-toothed margins.

Flowers edit

Hibiscus syriacus 'Oiseau Bleu'

Hibiscus syriacus has 5-petaled flowers (to 7.5 cm or 3 inches diameter)[16] in solid colors of white, red, purple, mauve, violet, or blue, or bicolors with a different colored throat, depending upon the cultivar. Extending from the base of these five petals is the pistil at the center, with the stamen around it. These basic characteristics give the H. syriacus flower and its many variants their distinctive form. The plant can bloom continuously from July through September,[16] usually at night. With maturity, flexible plant stems become weighted under the load of prolific summer flowers, and bend over halfway to the ground.

Fruits and seeds edit

Most modern cultivars are virtually fruitless. The fruits of those that have them are green or brown, ornamentally unattractive 5-valved dehiscent capsules, which persist throughout much of the winter on older cultivars. They will eventually shatter over the course of the dormant season and spread their easily germinating seeds around the base of the parent plant, forming colonies with time.[14]

Cultivation edit

Lavender Chiffon='Notwoodone'

Though it has no fall color and can be stiff and ungainly if badly pruned, H. syriacus remains a popular ornamental shrub today, with many cultivars. Full-grown plants can tolerate a wide range of conditions, including frost, drought and urban pollution. However, the best results are produced in a warm, sheltered position; a well-drained neutral soil; and full sun.[15]

Propagation edit

Hibiscus syriacus is fairly easily propagated from either seeds, with variable results, or by layering or cuttings, cloning the original.

Pests and diseases edit

Old shrubs can develop trunk cankers that may eventually prove fatal to the plant.[17] The plant has some susceptibility to leaf spots, blights, rusts and canker. Japanese beetles, whiteflies and aphids are occasional insect visitors.[18] Japanese beetles can severely damage foliage if left unchecked.

Cultivars edit

The following cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:[19]

  • 'Blue Chiffon' ('Notwood3')[20] (blue, semi-double)
  • 'Diana'[21] (single, white)
  • 'Hamabo'[22] (pale pink, red centre)
  • 'Lavender Chiffon' ('Notwoodone')[23] (pale lilac)
  • 'Meehanii'[24] (pink, variegated leaves)
  • 'Oiseau Bleu' ('Blue Bird')[25] (blue-violet, maroon centre)
  • 'Red Heart'[26] (white, red centre)
  • 'White Chiffon' ('Notwoodtwo')[27] (white, double)
  • 'William R. Smith'[28] (white, single)
  • 'Woodbridge'[29] (deep pink)

National flower edit

The Presidential Standard of South Korea, with a pair of phoenixes flanking the Korean rose.

Hibiscus syriacus, also known as the Korean rose, is the national flower of South Korea.[30] The flower appears in national emblems, and Korea is compared poetically to the flower in the South Korean national anthem.[31] The flower's name in Korean is mugunghwa (Korean무궁화; Hanja無窮花) or mokkeunhwa (목근화; 木槿花). The flower's symbolic significance stems from the Korean word mugung, which means "eternity" or "inexhaustible abundance". Various state emblems of South Korea contain Hibiscus syriacus; it is generally considered by South Koreans to be a traditional symbol of the Korean people and culture.[32]

History and culture edit

From the 8th century to today, this tree is popular as a garden tree for Japanese households.

Hibiscus syriacus was originally endemic to Korea. It is recorded that it was brought to Japan in the 8th century and cultivated for horticulture. According to records, it was prolific on the Korean Peninsula before the 1st century.[11] Its leaves were brewed into a herbal infusion and its flowers eaten in Korea. Later on it was introduced and grown in the gardens of Europe as early as the 16th century, though as late as 1629 John Parkinson thought it was tender and took great precautions with it, thinking it "would not suffer to be uncovered in the Winter time, or yet abroad in the Garden, but kept in a large pot or tubbe in the house or in a warme cellar, if you would have them to thrive." (sic)[33] By the end of the 17th century, some knew it to be hardy: Gibson, describing Lord Arlington's London house noted six large earthen pots coddling the "tree hollyhock", as he called it, "that grows well enough in the ground".[34] By the 18th century the shrub was common in English gardens and in the North American colonies, known as Althea frutex and "Syrian ketmia".[35]

References edit

  1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved April 8, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Hibiscus syriacus (Hibiscus, Rose of China, Rose of Sharon, Rose-of-Sharon, Shrub Althea) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox". plants.ces.ncsu.edu. Retrieved 2021-02-27.
  3. ^ Lawton, B.P. 2004. Hibiscus – hardy and tropical plants for the garden. Timber Press, Portland, OR
  4. ^ Walker, J. 1999. Hibiscus. Cassel, London, England.
  5. ^ Alice M. Coats, Garden Shrubs and their Histories (1964) 1992, s.v. "Hibiscus".
  6. ^ USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Hibiscus syriacus". The PLANTS Database (plants.usda.gov). Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  7. ^ BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  8. ^ "Hibiscus syriacus: Rose-of-sharon, Shrub Althea". University Of Connecticut Plant Database. Retrieved 18 February 2024.
  9. ^ "Landscape Shrubs: Althea, Rose-of-Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)." Cooperative Extension Service. University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. Retrieved 10 July 2023.
  10. ^ Welch, William C & Grant, Greg (2011), Heirloom Gardening in the South: Yesterday's Plants for Today's Gardens, College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press, p. 270, ISBN 978-1-60344-213-8
  11. ^ a b "National Administration> National Symbols of the Republic of Korea> The National Flower - Mugunghwa". Ministry of the Interior and Safety. Retrieved 2021-02-27.
  12. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 978-1405332965.
  13. ^ a b "Hibiscus syriacus 'Notwoodtwo' White Chiffon". The Missouri Botanical Garden - Plant Finder. Retrieved 18 February 2024.
  14. ^ a b "Hibiscus syriacus - Rose-of-Sharon" (PDF). PlantFacts. Ohio State University. Retrieved 18 February 2024.
  15. ^ a b Buchan, Ursula (10 August 2007). "Hibiscus syriacus: how to grow". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  16. ^ a b "Hibiscus syriacus - Plant Finder". The Missouri Botanical Garden - Plant Finder. Retrieved 2021-02-27.
  17. ^ Cankers On Trees: Various. 1st ed. Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Science, 2015. Web. 21 Apr. 2017.
  18. ^ How to Grow Rose of Sharon – Complete Guide
  19. ^ "AGM Plants – Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 48. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  20. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Hibiscus syriacus Blue Chiffon='Notwood3'". Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  21. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hibiscus syriacus 'Diana'". Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  22. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hibiscus syriacus 'Hamabo'". Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  23. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hibiscus syriacus Lavender Chiffon 'Notwoodone'". Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  24. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hibiscus syriacus 'Meehanii'". Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  25. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hibiscus syriacus 'Oiseau Bleu'". Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  26. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hibiscus syriacus 'Red Heart'". Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  27. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Hibiscus syriacus White Chiffon = 'Notwoodtwo'". Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  28. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hibiscus syriacus 'William R. Smith'". Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  29. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hibiscus syriacus 'Woodbridge'". Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  30. ^ "Korea.net".
  31. ^ "KBS 1 - Sign On - 2018 (HD)". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-05.
  32. ^ "The Korean rose". 8 May 2018.
  33. ^ Parkinson, Paradisi in Sole Paradisus Terrestris, 1629.
  34. ^ Quoted in Coats 1992.
  35. ^ Ann Leighton, American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century: 'For Use or Delight' (1976:429).

Further reading edit

External links edit