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Abelmoschus manihot


Abelmoschus manihot (L.) Medik.

Family Name: Malvaceae
Synonyms: Hibiscus manihot
Common Name: Sunset Hibiscus, Aibika, 黄蜀葵

The Sunset Hibiscus (Abelmoschus manihot) is an annual shrub that has big light yellow flowers with maroon to purple central eye and leaves of palmate-shaped leaves. This ornamental species flowers best under full sun.


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names
Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub
Lifespan (in Singapore) Annual, Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 1 m to 1.8 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 0.9 m


Native Distribution Indian Subcontinent, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malesia, Papuasia, North-Central to South-Central to southeastern China.
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Non-native

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Shrub with woody stem that grows up to 1.8 m tall and 0.9 m wide.
Roots Usually adventitious and fairly shallow.
Foliage The leaves are large, 15-30 cm in diameter, palmate-shaped with 5-9 lobes. The lobes are oblong to lanceolate shaped and sometimes pinnately lobed, measuring 8-18 cm long and 1-6 cm wide. The petiole is 6-18 cm long, stipules linear-lanceolate, sometimes there are 2 on each side of petiole, measuring 1-1.5 cm long. Leaf margin is obtusely serrated.
Stems Erect, woody, branching and pubescent.
Flowers Flowers are solitary or terminal racemes. Each flower is large, bell-shaped, about 12 cm in diameter. The petals are pale yellow with maroon to purple central spot.
Fruit Oblong-ovoid capsule, hairy, usually 5 angled and splitting in 5 segments. The fruit measurement is approximately 4.5 by 2.5 cm.
Habitat Found growing in grasslands, streamsides, and farm margins, at 1000 - 2100 m altitude.
Cultivation Plant grows via seed or stem cuttings. Plant grows slowly during the first 2 - 3 months. When the harvesting started, it requires regular removal of the growing tips to encourage branching and compact bushy growth, and delay flowering.
Etymology The genus Abelmoschus is believed to come from the Arabic terminology which means "source of musk", with reference to the musky smell of fruit capsules. The specific epithet manihot refers to the genus Manihot.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Leaves
Food (Fruit or Vegetable): The young leaves and stem tips are cooked as green vegetables in Melanesia region, especially the eastern parts of Indonesian and Papua New Guinea <2>.

<a>Scientific Evidence of Medicinal Properties</b>

Based on research on the effect of this species on animals, it has these medicinal properties: antidiabetic nephropathy activity <5>, anti-inflammatory <3> and anti-depressant <1>.


<b>Traditional Medicinal Uses</b>

In India, the flowers are used in the treatment of chronic bronchitis and toothache <4>.


It is important to note that soem therapeutic effects from traditional medicinal uses of plants are not currently supported or verified by scientific research. 

Landscaping Features

Landscaping The shrub can be grown as an annual or perennial in small gardens and parks for its ornamental yellow flowers and foliage.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage
Landscape Uses General, Small Gardens, Container Planting
Thematic Landscaping Economic Garden

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Potential Problems The species is closely related to Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), and thus susceptible to similar pests and diseases.
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting
Propagation Ease Moderate
Propagation Method Remarks The seed has a very hard coat and therefore needs to be knicked for quicker germination.
Seed / Spore Germination Duration 7 days


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green, Green - Light Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Hairy / Hirsute
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Green, Green - Light Green
Young Flush Texture(s) Hairy / Hirsute
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Palmate)
Foliar Venation Palmate
Foliar Margin Serrate / Toothed, Pinnately Lobed / Pinnatifid, Palmately Lobed
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Yellow / Golden
Flower Texture(s) Thin
Flower Grouping Solitary, Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary, Terminal
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Bowl-shaped, Saucer-shaped, Campaulate / Bell-shaped
Inflorescence Type Raceme
Flowering Period Free-Flowering
Flower Size 12 cm x 12 cm

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Green
Mature Fruit Texture(s) Hairy / Hirsute
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type
Mature Seed Colour(s) Black
Mature Seed Texture(s) Hairy / Hirsute
Seed Description Seeds are reniform, and has several lines of hairs.
Seed Quantity Per Fruit Numerous (>20)



<1> Guo, J., Xue, C., Duan, J.A., Qian, D., Tang, Y., You, Y. (2011). Anticonvulsant, antidepressant-like activity of Abelmoschus manihot ethanol extract and its potential active components in vivo. Phytomedicine. 18(14):1250-4.

<2> Gurnah, A.M. (1993). Abelmoschus manihot (L.) Medikus. In Siemonsma, J.S and Piluek, K (Editors): Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 8: Vegetables. PROSEA Foundation, Bogor, Indonesia. 

<3> Jain, P.S., Bari, S.B. (2010). Evaluation of wound healing effect of Abelmoschus manihot in rats. Rev Bras Farmacogn. 20(5):756-61. 

<4> Todarwal, A., Jain, P., Bari, S. (2011). Abelmoschus manihot Linn: ethnobotany, phytochemistry and pharmacology. Asian Journal of Traditional Medicines. 6(1):1-7.

<5> Tu, Y., Sun, W., Wan, Y.G., Che, X.Y., Pu, H.P., Yin, X.J, et al. (2013). Huangkui capsule, an extract from Abelmoschus manihot (L.) medic, ameliorates adriamycin-induced renal inflammation and glomerular injury via inhibiting p38MAPK signaling pathway activity in rats. J. Ethnopharmacol. 147:311-320.

Image Repository



Master ID 31416
Species ID 5813
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 08 November 2023.