When is a rose not a rose, and when is a hibiscus not a hibiscus? When it's the Rose Of Sharon! The hibiscus are in bloom around here, and they are beautiful. See Phil standing by one? This is because I think the bloom is bigger than his head, though he doesn't believe it. But that would be if you spread it out. There are over 200 species of hibiscus, and the rose mallow hibiscus bloom is the largest, 12 inches across. The hibiscus syriacus is referred to as the Rose Of Sharon, a term taken from Song Of Songs 2:1. It is a symbol of the perfect bride. Sharon was one of the largest plains in all Palestine. And in the time of Solomon, it was wild and fertile, with many beautiful flowers. It seems that Solomon's bride was comparing herself to nothing more than these very common and ordinary, though lovely flowers. But then Solomon compared her to a lily among thorns. He seemed to have a way with words. And here they are.
"I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys."
"Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens."