Hibiscus syriacus is a species of flowering plant in the mallow family Malvaceae. It is native to south-central and southeast China, but widely introduced elsewhere, including much of Asia.<ref name="POWO_560890-1">Template:Cite web</ref> It was given the epithet syriacus because it had been collected from gardens in Syria.<ref>Lawton, B.P. 2004. Hibiscus – hardy and tropical plants for the garden. Timber Press, Portland, OR</ref><ref>Walker, J. 1999. Hibiscus. Cassel, London, England.</ref><ref>Alice M. Coats, Garden Shrubs and their Histories (1964) 1992, s.v. "Hibiscus".</ref> Common names include the Korean rose (Republic of Korea), rose of Sharon<ref>Template:PLANTS</ref> (especially in North America), Syrian ketmia<ref name=BSBI07>Template:Cite web</ref> or rose mallow (United Kingdom) and rosa de Sharon (Brazil).
Hibiscus syriacus is a hardy deciduous shrub. It is upright and vase-shaped, reaching Template:Convert in height, bearing large trumpet-shaped flowers with prominent yellow-tipped white stamens.<ref name=RHSAZ>Template:Cite book</ref> 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 a moist, but well-drained, mixture of sand, clay, chalk, and loam. Maintaining an alkaline, neutral pH (5.5 – 7.0) levels. Hibiscus syriacus is highly tolerant of air pollution, heat, humidity, poor soil and drought.<ref>"Hibiscus Syriacus 'Notwoodtwo' WHITE CHIFFON – Plant Finder". Missouribotanicalgarden.org. N.p., 2016. Web. 21 Apr. 2017.</ref> Shoots make interesting indoor vase cuttings, as they stay green for a long time, and some new flowers may open from the more mature buds. The species has naturalized very well in many suburban areas, and might even be termed slightly invasive, so frequently it does seed around.
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 0.5–1.5" above the ground, giving rise to the shrub's overall vase shape.<ref>plantfacts.osu.edu/pdf/0247-539.pdf. N.p., 2017. Web. 21 Apr. 2017.</ref> The leaves appear unusually late in the season, in May.<ref name = TELE/> They are usually green or yellowish green, alternate, broadly ovate, palmately veined, and Template:Convert long. They have three distinct lobes with coarsely-toothed margins.
H. syriacus has 5-petaled flowers (to 3″ diameter) 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, usually at night. The Template:Convert wide, single- or double-flowering, large-petaled, very showy flowers adorn the plant throughout the summer. With maturity, flexible plant stems become weighted under the load of prolific summer flowers, and bend over halfway to the ground.
Fruits and seeds
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.<ref>plantfacts.osu.edu/pdf/0247-539.pdf. N.p., 2017. Web. 21 Apr. 2017.</ref>
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, incuding frost, drought and urban pollution. However, the best results are produced in a warm, sheltered position; a well-drained neutral soil; and full sun.<ref name = TELE>Template:Cite web</ref>
Pests and diseases
Old shrubs can develop trunk cankers that may eventually prove fatal to the plant.<ref>Cankers On Trees: Various. 1st ed. Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Science, 2015. Web. 21 Apr. 2017.</ref> The plant has some susceptibility to leaf spots, blights, rusts and canker. Japanese beetles, whiteflies and aphids are occasional insect visitors. Japanese beetles can severely damage foliage if left unchecked.
William Robinson mentioned several varieties in The English Flower Garden that are still available today. Triploid varieties were first produced at the National Arboretum, Washington DC, by Dr. D. Egolf, resulting in plants that bloom lavishly, as they are sterile and set no seed; Egolf varieties named for goddesses include the white 'Diana'. Also in the market are 'Lady Stanley', 'Ardens', 'Lucy', and 'Blushing Bride'.Template:Citation needed
- Template:Tdes=‘Notwood3’<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> (blue, semi-double)
- 'Diana'<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> (single, white)
- 'Hamabo'<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> (pale pink, red centre)
- Template:Tdes='Notwoodone'<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> (pale lilac)
- 'Meehanii'<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> (pink, variegated leaves)
- 'Oiseau Bleu'Template:Sp('Blue Bird')<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> (blue-violet, maroon centre)
- 'Red Heart'<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> (white, red centre)
- Template:Tdes=‘Notwoodtwo’<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> (white, double)
- 'William R. Smith'<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> (white, single)
- 'Woodbridge'<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> (deep pink)
Hibiscus syriacus, also known as the Korean rose, is the national flower of South Korea.<ref>http://www.korea.net/NewsFocus/Culture/view?articleId=75126</ref> The flower appears in national emblems, and Korea is compared poetically to the flower in the South Korean national anthem. The flower's name in Korean is mugunghwa (Hangul: 무궁화; Hanja: 木槿花/無窮花). The flower's symbolic significance stems from the Korean word mugung, which means "eternity" or "inexhaustible abundance". Various emblems of South Korea contain Hibiscus syriacus.
History and culture
Hibiscus syriacus has been grown as a garden shrub in Korea since time immemorial; its leaves were brewed into an herbal tea and its flowers eaten. 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)<ref>Parkinson, Paradisi in Sole Paradisus Terrestris, 1629.</ref> 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".<ref>Quoted in Coats 1992.</ref> By the 18th century the shrub was common in English gardens and in the American colonies, known as Althea frutex and "Syrian ketmia".<ref>Ann Leighton, American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century: 'For Use or Delight' (1976:429).</ref>