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Why is hibiscus the national flower of Korea?


The hibiscus is a beautiful flower that is widely appreciated for its vibrant colors and delicate petals. In Korea, this flower holds a special place in the hearts of its people as it is the national flower. But what is the significance of this flower and why was it chosen to represent Korea? In this article, we will explore the history and cultural significance of the hibiscus in Korea.

Geography and climate

Korea is a country with a diverse range of flora and fauna. The climate and geography of the region have played an important role in shaping the types of flowers that grow there. The hibiscus, in particular, thrives in the warm and humid conditions found in Korea. It is a hardy plant that can survive in a variety of soil types and is often used as an ornamental plant in gardens.

Cultural significance

In Korea, the hibiscus has been used in various cultural practices for centuries. It has been used as a medicinal herb to treat ailments such as fever, coughs, and colds. It is also used in traditional Korean tea and cuisine. The flower has also been used to make dye for textiles and clothing.


The hibiscus has a deep symbolic meaning in Korean culture. It represents beauty, purity, and femininity. It is often associated with young girls and their innocence. The flower also symbolizes wealth, fame, and good fortune. In Korean folklore, it is said that if you see a hibiscus blooming on your wedding day, it is a sign of a happy marriage.


The hibiscus was officially designated as the national flower of Korea in 1960. However, its use as a symbol of Korea dates back much further. In the 15th century, the hibiscus was depicted in a painting by the famous Korean artist Yi Sang-chai. The painting was titled “Hibiscus and a Butterfly” and it captured the beauty and elegance of the flower.


The choice of the hibiscus as the national flower of Korea was not without controversy. Some people felt that it was too feminine and not representative of the strong and resilient nature of Korean people. However, others felt that its beauty and symbolism made it a fitting symbol for the country.


The hibiscus has been a popular subject in Korean art for centuries. It has been depicted in paintings, calligraphy, and ceramics. In modern times, it has also been used as a design element in fashion and graphic design.


The hibiscus is a popular plant for gardening in Korea. It is often used as a hedge or border plant in gardens. There are many different varieties of hibiscus available, each with its own unique color and shape.


Despite its popularity, the hibiscus is still at risk of extinction due to habitat loss and over-harvesting. Efforts are being made to conserve the wild populations of hibiscus in Korea through reforestation and conservation programs.

Modern usage

The hibiscus remains an important symbol of Korea today. It is often used to represent the country in international events such as the Olympics or World Cup. It is also used as a design element on Korean currency and official documents.


The hibiscus has become a popular tourist attraction in Korea. Many visitors come to see the beautiful flowers in bloom at various gardens and parks throughout the country. The hibiscus festival, held annually in Gyeongju, is a major event that celebrates the beauty and cultural significance of the flower.


In conclusion, the hibiscus is a beloved flower in Korea that holds deep cultural and symbolic value. Its use as the national flower of Korea is a testament to its importance in Korean culture and history. As we continue to celebrate this beautiful flower, we must also work to conserve it for future generations to enjoy.

What does hibiscus symbolize in Korea?

Known as mugunghwa or mokkeunhwa in Korean, the flower’s name is derived from the Korean word mugung, which means “inexhaustible abundance” or “eternity”. This flower holds a symbolic significance that reflects its name.

What do flowers symbolize in Korea?

Daisies are a popular flower choice to express familial and filial emotions, while Alstroemerias represent kindness, gratitude, and humility. Tulips are often given as exotic gifts on special occasions or to important individuals. The orchid is known to symbolize passion and sensuality.

Which country’s national flower is hibiscus?

The hibiscus syracus is the national flower of South Korea and the yellow hibiscus is the state flower of Hawaii, but the hibiscus rosa-sinesis was selected as the national flower of the newly-independent Malaya. This decision was made on August 27th, 2021.

What is the flower of prosperity in Korea?

Peonies are considered the most majestic of all flowers due to their impressive size and vibrant hues, often being associated with royalty. They are also viewed as a symbol of wealth and nobility, earning them the title of “flower of wealth”.

What is the flower of love in Korea?

The flower known as the rose, or 장미 (jangmi) in Korean, is often given as a symbol of love or gratitude. However, in Korean culture, the meaning of roses varies depending on their color.

Is hibiscus the Korean national flower?

The national flower of South Korea is Hibiscus syriacus, also called the Korean rose. This flower is featured in national symbols and is compared to Korea in the country’s anthem. In Korean, the flower is known as mugunghwa or mokkeunhwa.

In addition to its cultural significance, the hibiscus also has a number of health benefits. The flower has been used in traditional Korean medicine to treat a variety of conditions, including high blood pressure, inflammation, and liver disease. It is also a rich source of antioxidants, which can help protect the body against oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Furthermore, the hibiscus is not only celebrated in Korea but also in other parts of the world. In many cultures, it is associated with love and fertility. In Egypt, for example, hibiscus tea is often served at weddings to symbolize the newlyweds’ love and commitment. In Hawaii, the hibiscus is not only a popular ornamental plant but also the state flower.

Lastly, the hibiscus has been used in various industries, including cosmetics and perfumes. Its fragrance and vibrant colors make it a popular ingredient in beauty products such as lotions and shampoos. Additionally, its delicate petals are often used to create natural dyes for fabric and clothing.

Overall, the hibiscus holds a special place in Korean culture and history. Its beauty, symbolism, and health benefits make it a beloved flower that continues to be appreciated by people all around the world.

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