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Shoe-flower Plant / China Rose

Botanical Name Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
Common NameChina Rose / Shoe-flower plant, Gurhal (Hindi), Sembaruthi (Tamil), Japa pushpam (Sanskrit)


Throughout India

Hibiscus offerings to Lord Ganesha

Religious association

The Hibiscus flowers are used in the worship of Hindu deities, especially Goddess Durga / Kali. The glowing complexion of the Devi is often compared with the beauty of the flower.

The Sun God is also compared with the Hibiscus flower. A famous sloga in praise of the Sun God begins –

‘Japa kusuma sankarsham, kashyapeyam maha-dyuthim’.

(Let us chant the glories of the Sun God, whose beauty rivals that of the Japa (Hibiscus) flowers)

(Source: http://www.flowersofindia.net/mythology.html)


The Hibiscus plant has a wide array of uses. The juice of the leaves as well as the flower is considered good for inducing hair growth. It acts as a natural hair-conditioning agent and is commonly used in herbal shampoos and hair oils. When crushed, the flowers turn black. Women traditionally use it to colour their hair / eyebrows. The flowers and young leaves are edible and is often added to salads. It is supposed to cure indigestion, constipation, nausea, ulcers and bladder infection. The crushed flower is also used as a shoe polish and hence is referred to as ‘shoe flowers’.

The plant is widely used as a hedge and ornamental plant.

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