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Family Malvaceae
Hibiscus mutabilis Linn.
Mu fu rong

Scientifric names  Common names 
Abelmoschus mutabilis (L.) Wall. ex Hassk. Amapola (Tag.)
Abelmoschus venustus Walp. Mapula (Tag.)
Hibiscus immutabilis Dehnh. ex Walp. Changeable rose (Engl.)
Hibiscus immutabilis Dehnh. Changing rose (Engl.)
Hibiscus javanicus Weinm. Chinese rose (Engl.)
Hibiscus malvarosa Noronha             Unresolved Confederate rose (Engl.)
Hibiscus mutabilis Linn. Cotton rose (Engl.)
Hibiscus sinensis Mill. Cotton rose hibiscus (Engl.)
Ketmia mutabilis (L.) Moench Cotton rosemallow (Engl.)
  Dixie rose-mallow (Engl.)
Hibiscus mutabilis L. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
BENGALI: Sthal padma, Thul padma.
CHINESE: Mu fu rong, Fu rong hua, Shan fu rong.
CREOLE: Shoubak.
INDONESIAN: Ngali-ngali.
JAPANESE: Fuyoo, Fuyou.
KOREAN: Bu yong.
SPANISH: Rosa algodon, Palo de la reina.
THAI: Phuttan.

Gen info
- Hibiscus is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae. The genus is large, comprising several hundred species that are native to warm temperate, subtropical and tropical regions worldwide. Species are renowned for their large, showy flowers, commonly known simply as hibiscus or, less widely known, as rose mallow. (34)
- Etymology:
The species name lives up to the epithet, mutabilis meaning changeable or variable. Many of the common names draw upon its colorful mutability - opening up pale pink or white and darkening into shades of red as the day advances. Confederate Rose
is a common name that colors the epithet with the drama of the Civil War, a felled soldier bleeding unto a bed of white hibiscus flowers, the petals slowly soaking red.
- Flower colors: The flower color change in H. mutabilis is most spectacular. Flowers are white in the morning, pink in the afternoon, and red in the evening. Temperature may be an important factor affecting the rate of color change as refrigerated white flowers remain white until taken out, slowly turning to pink as they warm. (31)

Amapola is an erect, branched bushy shrub or small tree, about 2 to 4 meters high, densely covered with short, grayish, stellate hairs. Leaves are broadly ovate to orbicular ovate, 5-lobed or 5-angled, 7 to 20 centimeters long, with pointed tip, heart-shaped base and toothed margins. Calyx is 3 to 4 centimeters long, with 5 oblong-ovate lobes, connate below. Corolla is 10 to 12 centimeters in diameter, single or double, opening pale pink or nearly white, growing darker in color as the day advances.

- Occasionally planted for ornamental purposes in the larger towns of the Archipelago.
- Not spontaneous.
- Native of the Old World.
- Now pantropic.

- Study isolated five flavonol glycosides from the ethanol extract of petals.
- Study isolated ten compounds: tetracosanoic acid, B-sitosterol, daucosterol, salicylic acid, emodin, rutin, kaemferol-3-O-B-rutinoside, kaemferol-3-O-B-robinobinoside, kaemferol-3-O-B-D-(6-E-p-hy-droxycinnamoyl)-glucopyranoside. (5)
- Study yielded various compounds from different plant parts: stems—Naringenin-5,7-dimethyl ether,4'-β-D-xylopyranosyl- β-D-arabinopyranoside, Eriodictyol-5,7-dimethyl ether-4'-β-D- arabinopyranoside; flowers—Quercetin, Quercemeritrine, Quercetin-3-D-Xyloside, Quercetin-3-sambubioside, Isoquercetin, Meratrin, Hybridin, Kaempferol, Hyperin, Guaijaverin, Cyanidine-3-xlosyl glucose, Cyanidin-3-monoglucoside, Hibiscones, Hibiscoquinones; and leaves— β-Sitosterol, β-Carotene, Quercetin). (10)
- Study on flavonoid aglycones in fresh flowers yielded quercitin, 80 mg/g fresh tissue; kaempferol, 8 mg/g; and cyananidin, 5 mg/g. (13)
- Study of flower pigment components in different flower color H mutabilis yielded mainly flavonoid and carotenoid excluding chalcone, aurone, and catechin; white flower H. mutabilis contained only flavonoid compounds; red and pink, mainly anthocyanin and flavonoid compounds. (24)

- Flowers are considered pectoral, emollient and febrifuge, depurative, stimulant.
- Leaves are anodyne, antidote, demulcent, expectorant and cooling.
- Considered expectorant, cooling, antidotal.
- Studies have shown antiproliferative, antioxidant, anti-tyrosinase, antidiabetic, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory properties

Parts used
Leaves, roots, flowers.

- Famine food: In China, leaves reportedly used as famine food, boiled, then eaten with oil and salt. (14)
- Flowers used for making tea.
- In China, flowers and leaves considered expectorant, cooling, analgesic and antidote to all kinds of poison.
- In Chinese medicine, leaves one of the component in a medicine used for treating tuberculous lymphadenitis; the flowers for treating nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
- Used by Dong people for migraine and otitis media; by She people for pulmonary hemoptysis, by Yao for appendicitis and epidemic parotitis, by She, Jingpo, Lisu people for menorrhagia. (20)
- Decoction of flowers considered pectoral; used for lung ailments.
- For mumps, egg whites are added to dried powdered leaves and applied to affected areas.
- Used for persistent coughs, menorrhagia, dysuria and wounds, especially burns and scalds that are slow to heal.
- Leaves and flowers applied to swellings and skin infections.
- In Guiana, plant used as emollient.
- Infusion of flowers used for chest and pulmonary complaints; also used as stimulant.
- Flower buds considered cooling and astringent; removes burning of the body, urinary discharges, seminal weakness, and piles. Flowers are refrigerant, demulcent, aphrodisiac, and emmenagogue. Flowers fried in ghee given for menorrhagia and diseases of the genitourinary tract. Macerated fresh flowers in water is drunk to cure scanty menstruation. (29)
- Rope:
Fiber from bark used for making rope.
- Dye:
Produces a natural dye; used for dyeing fabrics. (see study below) (26)

Antiproliferative / Anti-HIV1 Reverse Transcriptase / Lectin:
Study isolated a hexameric 150-kDa lectin from dried H mutabilis seeds. The galactonic acid-binding lectin potently inhibited HIV-1 reverse transcriptase. It also exhibited weak antiproliferative activity towards hepatoma HepG2 cells and breast cancer MCF-7 cells. (1)
Nitric Oxide Scavenging Activity: Study of the ethanol extracts of four medicinal plants, including Hibiscus mutabilis, showed dose-dependent NO scavenging activity. Results suggest a potential for the plants as novel therapeutic agents in the regulation of pathologic conditions caused by excessive generation of NO and its oxidation product. (2)
Anti-Tyrosinase Activity: In a study of four species of Hibiscus, H mutabilis was second to H tiliaceus in anti-tyrosinase and antioxidant activities. Total phenolic content (TPC) of leaves was 861 ± 92 mg GAE/100 g and an ascorbic acid equivalent antioxidant capacity (AEAC) of 877 ± 137 mgAA/100g. (6)
Bacteriostasis: In a study of extracts of H. mutabilis, the bacteriostasis effect was highest with E. coli and best with a 70% alcohol extract. (8)
Ferulic Acid / Leaves / Anti-Diabetic: Ferulic acid (FRL) purified from the leaves of Hibiscus mutabilis, showed impressive effects in preventing saturated fatty acid (SFA)induced defects through reduction of insulin receptor ß in skeletal muscle cells. Impairment of insulin signaling molecules by SFA was waived by the FRL. In high fat diet fed diabetic rats, FRL reduced blood glucose level and enhanced lipid uptake activity of adipocytes isolated from adipose tissue. Collective, FRL exhibited features for prevention of lipid induced insulin resistance, with a therapeutic potential use for T2DM. (9)
Antimicrobial / Anti-Inflammatory: Antimicrobial testing on various organisms showed satisfactory results. A methanolic extract showed good activity against Bacillus subtilis. An ethyl acetate extract showed comparable anti-inflammatory activity when compared to standard drug Nimuselide. (10)
Antidiabetic / Leaves: Study evaluated a methanolic extract of leaves for anti-diabetic activity in alloxan induced diabetic wistar rats. Results showed significant protection and maximum reduction in glucose in comparison to standard glibenclamide. (11)
Hepatoprotective / Leaves: Defatted phenolic fraction of leaf, stem, and flowers of Hibiscus mutabilis was evaluated against carbon tetrachloride induced hepatic injuries in rats. Results showed curative potential of the defatted antioxidant ethanolic fractions with treatment significantly modulated the enzymes to normal values accompanied by histopathological evidence. (12)
Anti-Allergic Effects / Petals: In vivo assay of aqueous extract of petals on mice isolated various flavanoids. Flavonol triglycoside, quercetin 3-o-1-beta-D-xylopyranosyl and beta-D-galactopyranoside showed significant anti-allergic effects. (15) (16)
• Analgesic / Bark: Study evaluated a bark extract of Hibiscus mutabilis in Wistar albino mice for analgesic activity using hot plate method and peripheral activity by acetic-acid induced writhing test. All the extracts showed significant analgesic activity. A methanol bark extract showed more inhibitory effect. The peripheral analgesic activity may be attributed to PG synthesis inhibition. (18)
• Anti-Diabetic / α-Glucosidase Inhibitory Activity / Leaves: Study evaluated the anti-diabetic (α-glucosidase inhibitory) effect of H. mutabilis leaf extract. Ferulic acid and caffeic acid were identified as α-glucosidase inhibitors present in H. mutabilis. Results suggest further study of the plant for its potential use in the management of diabetes. (19)
• Rutin and Isoquercetin / Seasonal and Age Variation: Rutin and isoquercitrin are flavonoid glycosides with significant biologic activities i.e., anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, antibacterial, anitoxidant, and antitumor. Study reports on a precise and simple method for the determination of rutin and isoquercitrin contents in HM folium. Rutin and isoquercitrin in MNF (mature green leaf) harvested in different periods showed significant differences and were highest in mid-December, and both were higher in mature green leaf than in nearly withered leaf. (20)
• Anti-Filarial / Ferulic Acid / Leaves: Study evaluated the in vitro activity of methanolic extract of leaves of Hibiscus mutabilis against bovine Setaria cervi worms. Bioassay-guided fractionation isolated ferulic acid from the ethyl acetate fraction. The crude extract and ferulic acid showed significant micro- and macrofilaricidal activities against microfilaria and adult of S. cervi by both worm motility and MTT reduction assay. In ferulic acid treated adult worms there was extreme cellular disturbances characterized by chromatin condensation, in situ DNA fragmentation and nucleosomal DNA laddering, suggesting anti-filarial effect through induction of apoptosis and by down regulating and altering the level of some key antioxidants (GSH, GST, and SOD) of the filarial nematode S. cervi. (21)
• Mechanochemical Assisted Extraction of Rutin: Study reports on the mechanochemical-assisted extraction (MCAE) technique for the efficient extraction of rutin from H. mutabilis. Compared with heat reflux and superfine grinding extraction, MCAE showed advantages in efficiency, no organic solvent consumption and much lower extraction temperature. (22)
• Mutagenicity Study / Acute Toxicity Study / Leaves: Study evaluated the potential mutagenicity of effective fraction of leaves in mice. Acute toxicity assessment by mortality of mice in LD50 in Ames test used highest dosage of 5000 ≤g/dish. No mutagenicity was noted. The amount of effective fraction of leaves given to mice was 3124 g/kg, which is 150-fold the effective dosage. Results suggest the effective fraction of leaves is a safe Chinese herbal preparation. (23)
• Hepatoprotective / CCl4-Induced Injury: Study evaluated the preventive and therapeutic effects of H. mutabilis on acute hepatic injury induced by carbon tetrachloride in rats. Results showed hepatoprotective effect with significant reduction in ALT and AST and pathological changes. (25)
• Dyeing / Flowers: Aqueous extract of gulzuba flowers yielded dye shades with good fastness properties, with good scope in the commercial dyeing of cotton, silk for garment industry, and wool yarn for the carpet industry. (26)
• Effect on Renal Ischemia Reperfusion Injury / IL-1 Inhibition: Study evaluated the effect of fraction of Hibiscus mutabilis on renal ischemia reperfusion injury in rat. Results showed decrease in BUN and creatinine, Renal pathological injury was significantly mitigated. The effect may underline its inhibitory action on interleukin-1 release. (27)
• Simultaneous HPLC Analysis of Content / Antioxidant Activity: HPLC analysis simultaneously determined the contents of rutin, protocatechuic acid, catechin, quercetin, and luteolin in Hibiscus mutabilis. Quercetin was used as internal standard. Results showed that the linear relationship, stability, precision, repeatability, and recovery rate of the method were great with little difference between determination result and traditional external standard method. Antioxidant capacity of H. mutabilis was evaluated by DPPH and ABTS in vitro, which is of reference significance for the pharmacodynamic study and product application of H. mutabilis. (28)
• Simultaneous HPLC Analysis of Content / Antioxidant Activity: Hibiscus exhibits high variation in chromosome number both within and among species. Study provides an exact chromosome number and a physical map, which will be useful for genome assembly and contribute to molecular cytogenetics in the genus Hibiscus. (
• CNS Depressant / Bark: Study reports on the CNS depressant activity of petroleum ether, ethyl acetate and methanol extracts of H. mutabilis bark using pentobarbitone-induced sleeping time and locomotor activity testing. Results showed the petroleum ether extract showed best CNS depressant activity. (
• Anti-HSV-II Activity: Experimental assessments were made on the anti-HSV-II activity of 500 herbs by determinations of the virus inhibition logarithm (VIL) Thirteen highly effective herbs (VIL greater than or equal to 4.00) were screened cut, providing a rational basis for clinical therapy. Among the most effective herbs, 10 were aqueous extracts, which included Hibiscus mutabilis and three were alcohol extracts. (


- Wild-crafted.

- Cultivated.

- Flower extracts and seeds in the cybermarket.

Updated April 2022 / August 2021 / May 2018 / May 2016

IMAGE SOURCE: PHOTO / Hibiscus mutabilis / Picture by Doctoroftcm / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license / GNU Free Documentation License / click on photo to see source image / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Public Domain / File:Hibiscus mutabilis Blanco1.175-original.png / Flora de Filipinas / 1880 - 1883 / Francisco Manuel Blanco (O.S.A) / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Novel galactonic acid-binding hexameric lectin from Hibiscus mutabilis seeds with antiproliferative and potent HIV-1 reverse transcriptase inhibitory activities / Sze Kwan Lam and Tzi Bun Ng / Acta Biochimica Polonic, 2009; Vol 56 No 4: pp 649–654 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.18388/abp.2009.2498
In Vitro Nitric Oxide Scavenging Activity of EthanolLeaf Extracts of Four Bangladeshi Medicinal Plants
/ Moni Rani Saha, Rumana Jahangir et al / Stamford Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences • 1 (1&2): 57-62
Flavonol Glycosides in the Flowers of Hibiscus mutabilis f. versicolor / Nariyuki Ishikura / Agri Biol Chem, 46 (6), 1705-1706, 1982
Confederate Rose (Hibiscus mutabilis), the Changeable Beauty / Marie Harrison / Dave's Garden
Studies on chemical constituents of Hibiscus mutabilis / Yao Li-yun, Lu Yang, Chen Ze-nai / Chinese Traditional and Herbal Drugs, 2003-03
Evaluation of Antioxidant, Anti-tyrosinase and Antibacterial Activities of Selected Hibiscus Species / S K Wong, Y Y Lim and E W C Chan / Ethnobotanical Leaflets 14: 781-96. 2010.
Sorting Hibiscus names / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASEStudy on bacteriostasis of extracts of Hibiscus mutabili leaf
Study on bacteriostasis of extracts of Hibiscus mutabili leaf / Li Chang-ling, Liu Sheng-gui et al / Science and Technology of Food Industry, 2009-11
A polyphenol rescues lipid induced insulin resistance in skeletal muscle cells and adipocytes / Bhaskarjyoti Gogoi, Priyajit Chatterjee, Sandip Mukherjee, Alak Kumar Buragohain, Samir Bhattacharya, Suman Dasgupta / Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Volume 452, Issue 3, 26 September 2014, Pages 382–388
Phytochemical and Pharmacological Evaluation of Hibiscus mutabilis leaves / Vandana H. Barve*, S. N. Hiremath, Shashikant. R. Pattan and S. C. Pal / J. Chem. Pharm. Res., 2010; 2(1): pp 300-309
Antidiabetic Activity of Methanolic Extract of Hibiscus Mutabilis Leaves Against Alloxan Induced Diabetes in Rats / Sattwik Das*, Shailendra Lariya and Girendra Kumar Gautam / INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PHARMACEUTICAL AND CHEMICAL SCIENCES, Vol. 2 (3) Jul-Sep 2013
Hepatoprotective effect of standardized antioxidant phenolic fractions of Hibiscus mutabilis Linn. / Subhash C. Mandal, Subodh C. Pal and Dipak N. Raut* / Der Pharmacia Sinica, 2014, 5(3):46-51
Analyses for Flavonoid Aglycones in Fresh and Preserved Hibiscus Flowers* / Lorraine S. Puckhaber, Robert D. Stipanovic, and Georgia A. Bost / Trends in new crops and new uses. ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.
Famine Foods / Compiled by Robert Freedman / hort.purdue.edu
Health and Nutrition from Ornamentals / Sharma Yashaswini, Hedge R V, and Venugopal C K / IJRAP, 2(2), 375-382 (2011)
Allergy preventive effects of H. mutabilis 'versicolor' and a novel allergy preventive flavanoid glycoside / Ewaoka E et al / Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 2009; 32(3): pp 509-512 /
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1248/bpb.32.509
Hibiscus mutabilis / Synonyms / The Plant List
Analgesic Activity of Bark of Hibiscus mutabilis / P.B. Ghogare, R.D. Bhalke, A.S. Girme, S. A. Nirmal, R.S. Jadhav and V.D. Tambe / Dhaka Univ. J. Pharm. Sci., June 2007; 6(1): pp 55-57
Bio‐assay Guided Isolation of α‐Glucosidase Inhibitory Constituents from Hibiscus Mutabilis Leaves
/ Deepak Kumar, Hemanth Kumar, J R Vedasiromoni, Bikas C Pal / Phytochemical Analysis, Sept-Oct 2012; Vol 23, Issue 5: pp 421-425
Determination of Rutin and Isoquercetin Contents in Hibisci mutabilis Folium in Different Collection Periods by HPLC  / Diangang Liu, Qing Mei, Xiangluan Wan, Hongling Que, Luyang Li, Dingrong Wan / Journal of Chromatographic Science, Vol 53, Issue 10; 1 Nov 2015: pp 1680-1684 / https://doi.org/10.1093/chromsci/bmv071
Effect of ferulic acid from Hibiscus mirabilis on filarial parasite Setaria cervi: Molecular and biochemical approaches / Prasanta Saini, Prajna Gayen, Santi P Sinha Babu et al / Parasitology International, Dec 2012; 61(4): pp 520-531 / DOI: htt[s://doi.org/10.1016/j.parint.2012.04.002
Mechanochemical-assisted efficient extraction of rutin from Hibiscus mutabilis L. / Jie Xie, Lixia Shi, Xingyi Zhu, Ping Wang, Yi Zhao, Weike Su / Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies, April 2011; 12(2): pp 146-152 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ifset.2919.12.009
Experimental Assessment on Mutagenicity and Acute Toxicity of the Effective Fraction of Leaves of Hibiscus mutabilis / Fu Shicong Zhang Huijuan Ma Jing, et al / CNKI
Primary Analysis of Flower Pigments Components in Hibiscus mutabilis / LV Cheng=ping, Zheng Zhi, Chen Chen-tian, Chen Jian / Collge of Horticulture and Landscape / CNKI
The preventive and therapeutic effects of Hibiscus mutabilis L on acute hepatic injury induced by CCl4 in rats / Shen Qin-hai, MA Zhen, Chen Guo-min / CNKI
Dyeing cotton, wool, and silk with Hibiscus mutabilis (Gulzuba) / Rakhi Shankar, Padma S Vamlar / Dyes and Pigments, 2007; 74(2): pp 464-469 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dye.pig.2006.03.07
Effect of leaves of Hibiscus mutabilis L. on renal ischemia reperfusion injury of rat model / Fu Shicong, Luo Shihua, Zhou Lingzhu, Zhang Fenghua / Guangxi Sciences, Jan 2004; 11(2): pp 131-133 /
Simulatneous Determination of Content and Antioxidant Activity of Five Components in Hibiscus mutabilis L. by HPLC-QAMS / Yang Xu, Xianwen Yue, Huiwei Bao et al / Journal of Chemistry, Volume 2022 / Article ID 8845760 / DOI: 10.1155/2022/
Taxonomy and Traditional Medicine Practices on Malvaceae (Mallow Family) of Rajshahi, Bangladesh /
A H S Mahbubur Rahman, Rojoni Gondha / Open 1(2): ppJournal of Botany, 2014; 1(2): pp 19-24 /
DOI: 10.12966/ojb.06.01.2014
Distribution of FISH oligo-SS rDNA and oligo-(AGGGTTT)3 in Hibiscus mutabilis L.
/ Xiaomei Luo, Zhoujian He / Genome, 2021 / DOI: 10.1139/gen-2019-0142
A Review on the Phytochemistry and Pharmacology of Two Hibiscus Species with Spectacular Flower Colour Change: H. tiliaceus and H. mutabilis / Eric W C Chan, S K Wong, H T Chan / International Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemical Research, 2016; 8(7): pp 1200-1208 / ISSN:0975-4873
CNS depressant activity of Hibiscus mutabilis Linn. (Malvaceae) bark
/ R D Bhalke, V D Tambe et al /
An experimental study of the anti-HSV-II action of 500 herbal drugs / Zhang M S / Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1989; 9(2): pp 113-116 / PMID: 2550706
Hibiscus / Wikipedia

DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

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