A genus of plants (herbs, shrubs, or trees), some species of which have large, showy flowers. Some species are cultivated in India for their fiber, which is used as a substitute for hemp. See Althea, Hollyhock, and Manoe.
The origin of the word hibiscus is not certain. In Latin, the word means "marshmallow." It is largest group of plants in the mallow (Malvaceae) family is the genus Hibiscus, which includes about 250 species of herbs, shrubs, and small trees. Some are delicate tropical blooms; others are hardy and grow almost anywhere. Plants of the Hibiscus genus are characterized by large, showy flowers with deep-colored bases. The blossoms may be white, cream, yellow, pink, crimson, magenta, or purple-blue. Some varieties of the hibiscus change from white or yellow in the morning to pink or red in the afternoon.