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This is an impressive species of flowering plant in the mallow family (Malvaceae). It is native to south-central and southeast China, but widely introduced elsewhere. Leaves when young can be consumed raw or cooked. A very mild flavour, though slightly on the tough side, they make an acceptable addition to the salad bowl. A tea is also made from the leaves. A mild flavour is produced by the flowers and they have mucilaginous texture; great in salads. Root is edible but quite fibrous. A low quality fibre from the stems can be used for making cordage and paper. Also, hair shampoo can be made from the leaves. This flower is referred to as the Rose of Sharon.
Colours vary but are often pink, red, blue, lilac and white.
It can grow to 3 metres (9'), sometimes a bit taller depending on various conditions.
Hibiscus leaves are diuretic, expectorant and stomachic. A decoction of the flowers is diuretic, ophthalmic and stomachic. It is also used in the treatment of several skin conditions.
Black or green dyes can be obtained from the flowers, leaves and stems combined and orange-gold to brown dye can be obtained from the flowers. However, some flowers can create a blue dye.
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