Sunset-Hibiscus

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Botanical Name: Abelmoschus manihot – (L.)Medik
Family: Malvaceae
Synonyms: Hibiscus manihot – L.Abelmoschus mindanaensis Warb. ex Perkins, Abelmoschus pungens (Roxb.) Voigt, , Hibiscus pungens Roxb., Hibiscus tetraphyllus Roxb. ex Hornem
Common Name: Sunset-Hibiscus,Sunset Muskmallow,  or Hibiscus Manihot. Neka (Simbo), Bele (Fiji), Pele (Tonga, Tuvalu), Aibika, Island cabbage, Baera, Bush Spinach, Peli, Slippery cabbage (Solomon Is.), Bush cabbage, Slipery kabisAibika, Gedi, Degi, Lagikuway, Barakue, Glikway, Po-fai.
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales
Genus: Abelmoschus
Species: A. manihot

Habitat :E. Asia – South-eastern Asia to Northern Australia.    Wasteland and hum,id rocky hillsides. In Nepal it grows at elevations of 700 – 1700 metres in rocky places with shrubs. Grasslands, near streams and margins of farm land.

Description:
Perennial growing to 2m at a fast rate. A shallow rooted shrub reaching 1-7.5 m in height, with and erect, woody, branching stem, simple leaves and large, pale yellow flowers, 7-15 cm in diameter. . Harvest starts about 80-90 days after planting and the bush remains productive for at least a year. Shoots approximately 15 cm in length and with several leaves attached are harvested when the lower leaves have fully developed.
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It is hardy to zone 9 and is frost tender. It is in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavyEdible Uses.

Cultivation:
Easily grown in any well-drained soil in a sunny position. Plants will tolerate occasional short-lived lows down to about -5°c so long as they are in a very well-drained soil. A perennial plant, it is generally tender in the temperate zone but can be grown outdoors as an annual, flowering well in its first year and setting seed[200, K]. Plants will occasionally overwinter in a cold greenhouse. It grows well in an ornamental vegetable garden.

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Propagation:-
Seed – sow March in a warm greenhouse. The seed should germinate with two weeks, when it is large enough to handle prick it out into individual pots and plant out after the last expected frosts. The seed can also be sown in situ in late April in areas with warm summers.

Uses: Young leaves and stem tips are used as cooked green vegetables. It has medicinal properties and plants are also grown as ornamentals.

Edible Uses:-
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves.
Young leaves – raw or cooked. Sweet and mucilaginous.  Flower buds – raw or cooked.

Hibiscus flowers are usually added to tea blends or used to flavor various alcoholic beverages, including certain beers.

Medicinal Uses :-
Emmenagogue; Odontalgic; Vulnerary.
The bark is said to be emmenagogue. A paste of the bark is used to treat wounds and cuts, with new paste being applied every 2 – 3 days for about 3 weeks. In Nepal the root juice is warmed and applied to sprains. The juice of the flowers is used to treat chronic bronchitis and toothache.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Abelmoschus+manihot
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abelmoschus_manihot
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Abelmoschus_manihot
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/cropView?id=290

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