This plant of gorgeous flower is a species of Asian origin for purely ornamental use and of great symbolic value in the East: Hindus offer their deities Kali and Ganesha red hibiscus. It is South Korea's national flower. In America, where it arrived from Europe, this flower is known as hollyhock of Seville.
As hibiscus is mentioned by Dioscorides, in his On Medical Matter actually referring to the altea. The treaty of this botanical and Greek physician of the first century arrived to the Muslim world through the Byzantine Empire, with its capital in Constantinople. It was translated into Arabic in Baghdad in the ninth century during the Abbasid caliphate by the Greek Esteban, though not in a very satisfactory way.
In 929 Abd al-Rahman III, from the Syrian dynasty of the Umayyad, declared himself caliph, chief of the believers, in Córdoba, which had already become one of the centers of knowledge of the Middle Ages. It is, at that time, when it came to al-Andalus a first treaty of Dioscorides in Greek, a gift from the Emperor of Constantinople to the Caliph of Cordoba in recognition of the importance of his kingdom. Soon a monk named Nicholas arrived to Cordoba, also sent directly from Byzantium by the emperor at the request of Abd al Rahman III, in order to translate On Medical Matter. So a better knowledge of botanical and medicinal properties of plants was obtained and it was confirmed, in turn, the prestige of Córdoba and al-Andalus as places to safeguard classical culture.