Monday, May 5, 2008

Hibiscus of Malaysia

Hibiscus of Malaysia

Date of Issue: 1984-12-12
Denominations: 10 cents, 20 cents, 40 cents and $1.00
Stamp Size: 27 mm x 30 mm
Paper: Unwatermarked
Printing Process: Lithography
Printer: Security Printers (M) Sdn. Bhd. Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Sheet Composition: 100 stamps

Stamps in the Series:

First Day Cover:

Malaysia's National Flower, Bunga Raya is well known throughout the world as Hibiscus or shoeflower and is botanically referred to as the Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. It belongs to the same family of plants as the cotton and okra or bendir. Hibiscus is the largest genus consisting of some 300 species which are widely distributed mainly in the tropics.

The characteristic feature of the Hibiscus is that it is an evergreen shrub with leaves alternately arranged and with the presence of stipules. The flowers are often large and showy, bisexual and regular with parts usually in fives. The calyx is composed of five sepals, sometimes joined and is often subtended by an epicalyx. There are five large petals which are free. The stamens are joined together to form a column and the stype is branced terminating in five stigmatic lobes. The ovary is superior composed of five fused carpels with axile placentation.

Hibiscus as an ornamental plant is very popular with many gardeners comparable to that of roses, camellia, and azalea of the temperate regions. The flowers have a wide range of colors, white, pink, yellow and pink to dark red. Some of the varieties are double or multi-petalled. The flowers are very large, some hybrids measuring up to 25 cm in diameter. The flowers are scentless and do not last for more than a day or two. The Hibiscus bloom all year round, provided they are well looked after.

Besides being used as an ornamental plant and in hedges of home gardens. It provides a ready source of nectar for the birds, butterflies and other insects. Hibiscus can be used for beauty as well as medicinal value. The juice of the petals was once used as a dye to darken the eyebrows of oriental women. The juice can also be used to clean and polish black shoes, hence the name shoeflower. In the olden days the Malays used the roots of the Hibiscus to cure fever, sore eyes and other internal ailments.

Hibiscus was selected as the National Flower of Malaysia on 28th of July, 1960. It is an appropriate choice as the Hibiscus is a well known flower which is grown throughout Malaysia.

1 comment:

Netty said...

I designed and painted the set of 4 hibiscus stamps you feature in this. They were my first job for the as then Crown Agents Stamp Co. It has been good to see them again.