Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the national flower of Malaysia, called Bunga Raya in Malay, dahonghua 大红花 in Chinese, Sembaruthi-செம்பருத்தி in Tamil, Gurhal/orhul in Hindi, Chemparathy in Malayalam, Wada Mal in Sinhala, and Mamdaram (మందారం) in Telugu.
Introduced into the Malay Peninsula in the 12th Century, it was nominated as the national flower in the year 1958 by the Ministry of Agriculture amongst a few other flowers, namely ylang ylang, jasmine, lotus, rose, magnolia, and bunga tanjung. On 28 July 1960, it was declared by the government of Malaysia that the hibiscus would be the national flower.
The word bunga in Malay means "flower", whilst raya in Malay means "big". The hibiscus is literally known as the "big flower" in Malay. The red of the petals symbolizes the courage, life, and rapid growth of the Malaysian, and the five petals represent the five Rukun Negara of Malaysia. The flower can be found imprinted on the notes and coins of the Malaysian ringgit.
Hibiscus flower preparations are used for hair care. The flowers themselves are edible and are used in salads in the Pacific Islands. The flowers are used to shine shoes in parts of India, as well as for the worship of Devi. In Indonesia, these flowers are called "kembang sepatu", which literally means "flower of shoes".