In the Philippines, the gumamela (local name for hibiscus) is used by children as part of a bubble-making pastime. The flowers and leaves are crushed until the sticky juices come out. Hollow papaya stalks are then dipped into this and used as straws for blowing bubbles.
The red hibiscus flower is traditionally worn by Tahitian women. A single flower, tucked behind the ear, is used to indicate the wearer's availability for marriage.
Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie named her first novel Purple Hibiscus after the delicate flower.
The bark of the hibiscus contains strong bast fibres that can be obtained by letting the stripped bark set in the sea to let the organic material rot away. In Polynesia, these fibers (fau, pūrau) are used for making grass skirts. They have also been known to be used to make wigs.
January 20th, 2013
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