| Rose of Sharon|
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The Rose of Sharon is a flower of uncertain identity mentioned in English language translations of the Bible. The word in question is the Hebrew חבצלת ḥăḇaṣṣeleṯ, which has been uncertainly linked to the words בצל beṣel, meaning 'bulb', and חמץ ḥāmaṣ, which is understood as meaning either 'pungent' or 'splendid' (The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon). The name first appears in 1611, when it was used in the King James Version of the Bible. According to an annotation at Song of Solomon 2.1 by the translation committee of the New Revised Standard Version, this is a mistranslation of the Hebrew word for "crocus". Different scholars have suggested that the biblical "Rose of Sharon" is one of the following plants:
A "kind of crocus" ("Sharon", Harper's Bible Dictionary) or a "crocus that grows in the coastal plain of Sharon" (New Oxford Annotated Bible);
Tulipa montana, "a bright red tulip-like flower . . . today prolific in the hills of Sharon" ("rose", Harper's Bible Dictionary);
Tulipa agenensis, the Sharon tulip, a species of tulip suggested by a few botanists; or
Lilium candidum, more commonly known as the Madonna lily, a species of lily suggested by some botanists, though likely in reference to the "lily of the valleys" mentioned in the second part of Song of Solomon 2.1.
Today, the name is also commonly applied to two different plants, neither of which is likely to have been the plant from the Bible:
Hypericum calycinum, an evergreen flowering shrub native to southeast Europe and southwest Asia, and the plant generally referred to in British and Australian English as "Rose of Sharon"; and
Hibiscus syriacus, a deciduous flowering shrub native to east Asia, the plant generally referred to in American English as "Rose of Sharon" and the national flower of South Korea. The flower's name in Korean is mugunghwa (Korean Hangul: 무궁화, Hanja: 無窮花).
The most accepted interpretation for the Biblical reference is the Pancratium maritimum, which blooms in the late summer just above the high-tide mark. The Hebrew name for this flower is חבצלת or חבצלת החוף (coastal ḥăḇaṣṣeleṯ).
[ Symbolism ]
In the USA, the Rose of Sharon is the official flower of Phi Beta Chi, a national Lutheran-based Greek social letter sorority.
In Korea, the Rose of Sharon is the historical symbol of the present and historic Yi Dynasty Korean royal family, and figures throughout domestic and royal architectural elements, particularly in roof tiles.
In The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, Rose of Sharon (often called "Rosasharn") is a major character, the eldest daughter of the Joad family and the sister of the protagonist Tom Joad. Throughout much of the novel, she is depicted as fragile because of her pregnancy, but the novel ends with an act of sacrifice on her part.
Mugunghwa on the web in Korean : http://www.koreamugunghwa.or.kr/