Cranberry Hibiscus

Availability: In stock (11)

Available for curbside pickup only.

Tree Description: This plant is a short-lived perennial shrub in the subtropics and tropics but can be grown as an annual in cooler climates. It grows rapidly to 1.7 m high with deeply cut leaves similar to Japanese maple. The leaf colour of deep cranberry red is highly ornamental; the flowers are a small, very pretty, rose-pink hibiscus-type. Cranberry hibiscus is a hardy plant that thrives when it is warm and wet; it prefers full sun but will grow in partial shade. It needs ample water, rich, fertile, well-drained soil that is kept mulched and a pH of between 6.1 and 6.5.

Scientific Name: Hibiscus acetosella

Common Names: African rosemallow, false roselle, maroon mallow, Florida cranberry

Family: Malvaceae

Relatives: other hibiscus, cotton, okra, cacao

Origin: tropical Africa

Distribution/History: Tropical and subtropical humid and arid regions in South, Central, and North America, and the Caribbean.

Importance: A very nutritious vegetable; the leaves are high in vitamins B3 (niacin), B2, A and C. It is high in protein and an excellent source of antioxidants and anthocyanins. The young leaves are known for their pleasantly tart flavour, eaten either raw or cooked. As the leaves contain oxalic acid, cranberry hibiscus should not be eaten in large amounts - e.g. as the only raw green vegetable in a salad - or more than once a week.