The Malaysian national flower is the bunga raya or hibiscus (hibiscus rosa sinensis). The first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, chose this as the national flower in 1960. The red colour of the bunga raya represents courage while the five petals symbolize the Rukunegara (the Five Principles of Nationhood). The flower was selected because it grows abundantly in Malaysia.
The bunga raya has many uses, especially for medicinal purposes. The petals are used as a cosmatic to darken and highlight women’s eyebrows, and the roots are used to relieve fever and other ailments. Besides the hibiscus rosa sinensis, there are many other varieties of hibiscus in Malaysia.
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