from the December 5, 2010 Newsletter issued from Hacienda Chichen Resort beside Chichén Itzá Ruins, central Yucatán, MÉXICO
KENAF THE WONDER PLANT
About 10 kms north of Pisté, on the south side of the little Maya village of Xokempiich, something came up I’d not seen elsewhere: A much-branched, herbaceous bush about ten feet tall (3 m) with stiff stems and palmately compound leaves looking a lot like those of Marihuana plants, but with large, deep-burgundy, hibiscus-type flowers. You can see the whole thing above.
A side view of a five-inch-across blossom (13 cm) is shown below:
A view inside the blossom showing typical hibiscus-flower anatomy — stamens with filament bases uniting into a cylindrical staminal column surrounding the slender style, the style topped by five spreading style-branches, each tipped with a fuzzy stigma — is below:
After pollination, the corollas fall off leaving behind ovaries which mature into nearly spherical fruits enveloped by stiff, bristly sepals, as seen below:
Most of the world knows this plant, probably native to southern Asia, as Kenaf, which is a Persian name. Among its English names are Brown Hibiscus, Hemp Hibiscus, Bimli, Ambary and Deccan Hemp. It’s HIBISCUS CANNABINUS, an old Linnaeus name, so even Linnaeus thought that vegetatively it looks like Marijuana/ Cannabis. By the way, vegetatively it also looks like the Okra plant. While Kenaf isn’t related to Marijuana, it turns out that Okra is indeed a close cousin. The most common Kenaf cultivar appears to be white-flowered, but other colors, such as our burgundy one, are planted.
Once again we’ve stumbled onto a plant I’ve never heard of but, once the name was known, Googling the name revealed that I’d found a famous, very important species. If you want to see a web page effusively enthusiastic about Kenaf (“Kenaf. enables the papermaker to stop using Old Growth Forest trees for paper pulp” and “Kenaf — The Fiber That Can Change The World!”) go to http://www.solarentrep.com/kenaf_home.htm.
On that page you’ll see that Kenaf’s fiber makes good paper, rope, carpet backing and burlap. Silage made with it for livestock consumption has a high protein rating, ranging from 16 to 23%.
Cannabis hibiscus from the December 5, 2010 Newsletter issued from Hacienda Chichen Resort beside Chichén Itzá Ruins, central Yucatán, MÉXICO KENAF THE WONDER PLANT About 10 kms north of Pisté,
Abelmoschus congener Walp.
Abelmoschus verrucosus Walp.
Furcaria cannabina Ulbr.
Furcaria cavanillesii Kostel.
Hibiscus congener Schumach. & Thonn.
Hibiscus malangensis Baker f.
Hibiscus obtusatus Schumach.
Hibiscus vanderystii De Wild.
Hibiscus vitifolius Mill.
Common Name: Kenaf
|Other Uses Rating|
Seed – roasted or ground into a flour and made into a kind of cake[
Root – it is edible but very fibrous[
An edible oil is obtained from the seed[
The seeds are aphrodisiac and stomachic[
The leaves are purgative[
The peelings from the stems have been used in the treatment of anaemia, fatigue, lassitude, etc[
The stems have been used as plant supports for growing runner beans etc[
The seed contains between 18 and 35% of an edible semi-drying oil[
] (or is it per hectare?).
The soot from the stems has been used as a black pigment in dyes[
The stem has been used as a base for drilling fire[
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Last update on 2019-06-13: Now containing 11906 plants.
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Hibiscus cannabinus Malvaceae Abelmoschus congener Walp. Abelmoschus verrucosus Walp. Furcaria cannabina Ulbr. Furcaria cavanillesii Kostel. Hibiscus congener