Herbs & Plants

Hibiscus tilliaceus

Botanical Name:Hibiscus tilliaceus
Family: Malvaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales
Genus: Hibiscus
Species: H. tiliaceus

Synonyms: Talipariti tiliaceum (L.) Fryxell

Common names : Sea hibiscus, Beach hibiscus, Coastal (or coast) hibiscus, Coastal (or coast) cottonwood, Green cottonwood, Native hibiscus, Native rosella, Cottonwood hibiscus, Kurrajong, Sea rosemallow, Balibago (Tagalog), Malabago or malbago (Cebuano – Southern), Maribago (Cebuano – Northern), Waru (Javanese), Baru or bebaru (Malay), Pagu (Chamorro), Hau (Hawaiian), Fau (Samoan), Purau (Tahitian), and Vau tree.

Habitat: Hibiscus tilliaceus is native to coastal areas of Australia, South East Asia and the South Pacific It grows on the coastal swamps; edges of mangrove swamps.

Hibiscus tilliaceus is an evergreen tree growing to 8 m (26ft) with a trunk up to 15 cm (5.9 in) in diameter. The flowers of H. tiliaceus are bright yellow with a deep red center upon opening. Over the course of the day, the flowers deepen to orange and finally red before they fall. The branches of the tree often curve over time. The leaves are heart shaped and deep red in the var. rubra.
The flowers are pollinated by Insects. It is noted for attracting wildlife.


Climate: subtropical to tropical. Humidity: humid. Sea Hibiscus is suited to coastal environments. It tolerates salinity and waterlogging, and can grow in a variety of coastal sands and soils. pH Level: Acid, Neutral, Alkaline. Soil Type: Sandy, Loamy, Sandy loam. Light: Sunny, Light shade. Soil Moisture: Well-drained, Moist soil. Tolerates light frost. Found at elevations from sea level to 800m (2,600ft) in areas that receive 900–2,500mm (35–98in) of annual rainfall. Carbon Farming Solutions – Cultivation: minor global crop. Management: coppice (Describes the non-destructive management systems that are used in cultivation)

Edible Uses:
Young leaves and green barks are eaten as a famine food. Leaves are eaten, femented into a sauce, used as a substrate for tempeh starter culture or boiled in salt water to form a beverage called Onge tea . The flowers can be eaten as a potherb or dipped in batter and fried.
In Indonesia hibiscus tiliaceus is also used for fermenting tempeh. The undersides of the leaves are covered in downy hairs known technically as trichomes to which the mold Rhizopus oligosporus can be found adhering in the wild. Soybeans are pressed into the leaf, and stored. Fermentation occurs resulting in tempeh.

The bark and roots may be boiled to make a cooling tea to cool fevers, and its young leafy shoots may be eaten as vegetables.

Medicinal Uses: Flowers have laxative properties.

Other Uses:
The wood of H. tiliaceus has a specific gravity of 0.6. It has been used in a variety of applications, such as seacraft construction, firewood, and wood carvings. It is easy to plane and turns well, so it is regarded by many as a high quality furniture wood. Plant fibers taken from the stems have traditionally been used in rope making, while its bark has been used like cork, in sealing cracks in boats. Native Hawaiians used the wood to make iako (spars) for waa (outrigger canoes), mouo (fishing net floats), and au koi (adze handles). Kaula ilihau (cordage) was made from the bast fibers. Hau would be used to make ama (canoe floats) if wiliwili (Erythrina sandwicensis) was unavailable.

Hibiscus tiliaceus is widely used in Asian countries as a subject for the art of bonsai, especially Taiwan. The finest specimens are taken from Kenting National Park. Lending itself to free grafting, the leaf size is reduced fairly quickly. Its leaves are also used in cooking, as trays for steamed rice cakes .

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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