This bright red hibiscus found on Hawaii’s Big Island is a vibrant example of a common shrub hibiscus. The Hawaiian word for hibiscus is pua aloalo (pua meaning flower and aloalo meaning hibiscus). There are hundreds of species of Hibiscus in the world, most native to the tropics and sub-tropics.
Hawaiians used to use the wood of the hibiscus for making paper and lighting fires. In Tahitian culture, the red hibiscus is worn by single women to indicate their availability. Other parts of the world make tea from the flower, food, or garnish.