Native Hibiscus: An Edible Jewel in my Garden

26 September 2012

Lens:

1. Native HIbiscus, iPhone 4s, September 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

2. Native HIbiscus, iPhone 4s, September 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

3. Native HIbiscus, iPhone 4s, September 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

4. Native HIbiscus, iPhone 4s, September 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

5. HIbiscus, iPhone 4s, August 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

6. Native Hibiscus, Nikon DSLR, September 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

7. Seed Pod of Native Hibiscus, Nikon DSLR, September 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

8. Pods and Seeds of Native Hibiscus, Nikon DSLR, September 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

Let me know which is your favorite.

Pens:

Autumn has arrived and applauds is beginning to be heard. The subtle changes in the landscape are becoming more pronounced. But it’s only the end of September. Time is on our side: the punch of fall foliage is yet to be.

But I’ve been celebrating a summer and autumn jewel in my garden: Hibiscus coccineus,  which acts as a magnet for some of my most cherished seasonal visitors: butterflies and hummingbirds. While I adore the delicacy and magnificence of this show stopper, I did not plant it. Apparently its arrival was fortuitous, because it beams with constant blossoms from July to mid-September.

I theorize that it was a stowaway on a cluster of swamp milkweed that I planted three years ago. Now the plants have spread, and I’ve gathered seed pods to help it become a permanent offering for wildlife.

In the Lens section are various shots of this luscious native plant. This deep orange or scarlet or crimson perennial is so alluring as to keep me occupied for long views. And fortunately it grows at the local botanical gardens where I go to meditate on the abundance of its charm.

This member of the Mallow family is a short bloomer. You can easily miss its brilliance, because it is in its glory for only a day. It rises toward the sun, getting as high as six feet or more. In my garden they are definitely elegant in their height.

In our seesaw weather this summer the plants thrived even though they are known to love consistent moist areas. While I watered them, they certainly excelled during Delaware’s dry, humid and intensely sunny days. But, of course, one of the benefits of native plantings are their adaptability.

Since I’m always discovering new information about gardening, the Hibiscus is now added to the list of edibles that I grow and nurture. It’s suppose to have a slightly acidic taste and makes a summery beverage that will spice the palette. I’ll wait until next year to experiment.

I have a long history with eating edible flowers. My favorites are: geraniums, violets, pansies, lemon verbena, nasturtiums, honeysuckle, and zucchini.

Needless to say, hibiscus are large rubies that glow daily, albeit for a brief showing. They need the sun’s radiance to bring them into their best. Regardless, these beauties have a quality that reflects the omnipresence of nature as giver of majestic jewels–jewels that perpetuate bounty for wildlife.

Noe: As always I welcome any comments about this post or any part of my blog.

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32 Responses to Native Hibiscus: An Edible Jewel in my Garden

  1. KOH  says:

    It’s great shoot~Love it Hibiscus
    Have a good day~dear

  2. ehpem says:

    I really like the ones on a white background, though the first one is very fine.

  3. The plain white background is perfect for the complexity of the seed pod. How did you do that? I’d like to try it. I love the sweep of clouds against the sweep of the flower in the first one.

  4. In the Philippines, we call them “Gumamela” flower. Their colors as radiant as the Sun and as colorful as a rainbow. My mom have them as a main centerpiece of her garden. I used to go with her finding the right plant with the right color. Beautiful images!

  5. Beautiful photos.The red color is stunning.

  6. I love pic 8 as it depicts the plants inner beauty.

  7. niki says:

    The first one is my favorite! Absolutely amazing. I love that red on that blue sky!

  8. marialla says:

    WOW!!! WOW!!! WOW!!! WHAT GREAT ANGLES YOU HAVE ASKED YOUR HIBISCUS TO POSE AS!!! AT TIMES IT IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO IMAGINE THAT IT IS A FLOWER YOU HAVE PHOTOGRAPHED!!! VERY WELL DONE!!! THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR THE PHOTOS AND THE INFO!!!!

  9. Number 1 is definitely my favorite, though 5 is close behind. Spectacular!

  10. Janice D says:

    Lovely shots, all of them. Love the red. I have a hibiscus very similar to yours…but mine is not native to where I live. I have managed it to keep it alive for about 4 years now by bringing it indoors for the winter. Thanks for providing the info on this spectacular plant – I never thought of it as edible before, but now I am curious… A jewel, indeed!

  11. Gracie says:

    Oh what a beauty! I love hibiscus, I grew up in a tropical place where the streets are lined with beautifully kept hibiscus plants.

  12. Northern Narratives says:

    I didn’t know they were edible.

    • Yes, I just found out, and their blooming days were over.

      • Robert S. says:

        I’m a Botanist and am familiar with most Hibiscus. While H. coccineus is probably edible (FDA doesn’t list it, to my knowledge), as are a great many Hibiscus, it is likely very bland. The tart-flavored H. sabdariffa, a.k.a. Roselle, Jamaican Sorrel, is not grown for the flower petals, but for the succulent, red bracts/calyx which is under the petals. In H. coccineus, the calyx is fibrous. I have tried all flower parts of this species; it’s bland or fibrous, depending on parts and age. I’m interested in finding out if the tender new shoots are edible. They are probably slimy, like okra, but I have no experience with the shoots. The flowers are gorgeous. A white form exists.

        We had a sheriff show up, thinking the young plants were pot!

      • Thank you for your expertise–while you read about my passion for other edible plants, I have not tried Hibiscus. After your description, I’ll stick with my tried and true. My natives are always a visual treat. Many thanks for your comment.

  13. arsomnia says:

    the second like a woman dress 🙂
    these photos are very beautifull. And I like hibiscus, is a sensual flower
    Ciao

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