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Plant Description: Roselle is an annual or perennial herb or woody-based subshrub, growing to 2–2.5 m (7–8 ft) tall. The leaves are deeply three- to five-lobed, 8–15 cm (3–6 in) long, arranged alternately on the stems.Plants do not flower until the short days of late fall or early winter. In Thailand tea is made from the dried flower.
Scientific Name: Hibiscus sabdariffa
Common Names: Florida cranberry, Indian sorrel, Jamaica sorrel, lemon bush, natal roselle, Queensland jelly plant, red sorrel, roselle, roselle hemp, sorrel
Relatives: Cotton, okra, false roselle, cranberry hibiscus, Indian hemp, kenaf
Origin: Central and West Africa
Distribution/History: Major producers are China (East Asia), Sudan (Africa) and Thailand (Southeast Asia). Widely distributed in the Tropics and Subtropics of both hemispheres roselle has become naturalized in many areas of the West Indies and Central America. Germany: is the leading importer of roselle calyx for food coloring and flavoring; USA: imports approximately 5,000 metric tons of dried roselle calyces annually for brewing herbal teas.
Importance: (Roselle) is important for food for it's high quality fiber. Roselle is a common garden plant in the tropics and grows readily in Florida. Many parts of the plant, including the seeds, leaves, fruits, and roots, are used medicinally or in foods. The bright red calyx is acid with a tart taste and therefore makes a great substitute for cranberries. The size of the calyx varies with each variety and the culture is very similar to eggplants and okra. The leaves are used for food preparation; the calyx and flowers for tea, flavoring, and coloring. The calyces are used as a substitute for cranberries.