Do you notice anything unusual about this shrub? Look closely. You’ll see a singular red bloom among many soft-orange colored blossoms. This tropical hibiscus is a “sprinkle rain” cultivar from the Malvaceae family. Cultivated plants are produced by selective breeding, and in this case, bred for the salmon-colored flowers. However, the red flower is a sign that the genes for expressing red are still present. Red is the more typical, and dominant, hibiscus color.

The “sprinkle rain” cultivar is not typically found in nurseries, but can be found at South Coast Botanic Garden near the Dahlia Garden and on the trail behind the Banyan Grove, parallel to Crenshaw Boulevard. Heading clockwise on Tram Road, take the second trail after the Fuller sculpture and follow the trail behind the Banyan Grove.

Four things you need to know about hibiscus:

  • The large, showy flowers are trumpet-shaped and do not have a scent.
  • Hibiscus is used for medicine, food, and dyes.
  • In tropical areas, you will notice women often wear a flower in their hair – usually a hibiscus. If the flower is worn behind her right ear, it means she is single. And if it’s worn behind her left ear, she has a significant other. 
  • Many hibiscus species are grown in pollinator gardens to attract butterflies, hummingbirds and bees.

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