Uses: Edible, Xeriscaping, Forage, Medicinal. Native to: Mexico.
This is another great plant that looks beautiful and blooms for most of the year. It's a great candidate for turf replacement, since it is very well-behaved once established. The bright red flowers attract pollinators including butterflies and hummingbirds.
Perhaps one of the best things about Turk's Cap Hibiscus is that the leaves and flowers are edible, like all members of the mallow family. Wikipedia says, "Certain species of hibiscus are also beginning to be used more widely as a natural source of food coloring (E163), and replacement of Red #3 / E127." I have used it to color handmade soap, by making a tea for the water portion of my recipe, coloring the soap a pinkish hue.
Have you ever had Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger tisane? According to their website, Hibiscus flower is their main ingredient. And after reading that list, doesn't it sounds pretty simple to make a version at home?
Hibiscus flowers are known to be medicinal. They contain vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals. A study in 2008 found that it can lower blood pressure in mild cases. The flowers contain anthocyanins, acting as natural ACE inhibitors. This study reveals hibiscus' strong link to lessening the effects of metabolic syndrome. With a bit of looking, much more research can be found regarding the downward blood cholesterol effects of hibiscus. Some people are convinced the properties mentioned above can help them to lose weight.