Is Rose of Sharon the same as Hibiscus? - Knowledgebase Question

Question by sbramirez
February 11, 2010
The plants and flowers look very similar, so I would like to know if they are from the same family. Also, where did Rose of Sharon originate from? It is mentioned in the Bible and I wanted to know if the Rose of Sharon plants here in California are the same. Thanks!!!

Answer from NGA
February 11, 2010


Rose of Sharon is botanically Hibiscus syriacus and is also commonly called hardy hibiscus and shrub Althea. You can often tell a plant's origin by its name. Hibiscus syriacus would indicate it is from Syria but botanists now know that this flowering shrub is a plant of China and India.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the tropical hibiscus you're familiar with. The one that grows in California and Hawaii (and other warm winter states). Theses plants are native to China.

Both are members of the Malvaceae, or the mallow family. This is a family of flowering plants containing over 200 genera with close to 2,300 species. Well known members of this family include okra and cacao. The largest genera in terms of number of species include Hibiscus (300 species), Sterculia (250 species), Dombeya (225 species), and Pavonia (200 species).

Hope this answers your question.

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