Tuesday, July 10, 2007


This garden shrub with its big "in your face" flower has spread into the wild and blooms along pasture edges in our neighborhood. Rose of Sharon, Hibiscus syriacus, has a blossom of remarkable endurance, lasting a long time in a vase of cut flowers. Perhaps because of this resilience and its remarkable beauty, the flower has become the focus of stories in both the East and the West.

"I am the rose of sharon, and the lily of the valley. As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters." reads the Jewish Bible's Song of Solomon. (Sharon was a beautiful fertile plain near Jerusalem.) Long after Bible times this name from the Song of Solomon was given to the garden shrub, Hibiscus syriacus.

In the East, this flower is the national symbol of Korea, where its name, "mugunghwa," means "immortal" and "sincere heart." A legend surrounding its name describes its origin from the tears shed on a grave by a husband whose beautiful wife had been kidnapped and murdered by a feudal lord.

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