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Hibiscus acetosella - Welw. ex Hiern.

Common Name Cranberry Hibiscus
Family Malvaceae
USDA hardiness 9-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not known
Range E. and C. Africa.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Hibiscus acetosella Cranberry Hibiscus

Hibiscus acetosella Cranberry Hibiscus


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Hibiscus acetosella is an evergreen Annual/Perennial growing to 1.5 m (5ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10 and is frost tender. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Hibiscus eetveldeanus De Wild. & T.Durand Hibiscus surattensis eetveldeanus (De Wild. & T.Durand) Hochr

Plant Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Root
Edible Uses:

Leaves - raw or cooked. An acid flavour with a mucilaginous texture, they can be added to salads or used in soups, stews etc[183, 299, 308]. They can be cooked with other foods to give them an acid sorrel-like flavour[183]. Yellow-flowered types with green leaves are most popular for this purpose, but red-flowered types with dark red leaves are also eaten[299]. Types with decorative pinkish-brown leaves are used in fresh salads, being appreciated for their special rather sour taste[299]. The red flowers and possibly also the leaves are occasionally used to make a tea, somewhat similar to the use of the red calyces of Hibiscus sabdariffa[299]. Root - it is edible but is very fibrous[144]. Mucilaginous, without very much flavour[144, 299].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

An infusion of the leaves in water is used as a post-fever tonic and as a treatment for anaemia[299]. The leaves are crushed and soaked in cold water and the infusion is used for washing babies and young children who have body pains[299, 398].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

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Other Uses

Agroforestry Uses: Grown as a hedge in food gardens, where it can be used as a food as well as a barrier[299]. The form 'Red Shield' makes an ideal hedge[301]. The plant is highly resistant to root-knot nematodes and is, therefore, an excellent crop to be used after tomatoes or other solanaceous vegetables that are affected by nematodes[299].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Hibiscus acetosella is found over a large area of tropical Africa, usually being grown at low to moderate elevations. It can also be grown as an annual in warm temperate areas. It grows best in areas with good rainfall[299]. Succeeds in a sunny position, but prefers some shade[299]. Prefers a well-drained humus-rich fertile soil[200]. There are some named varieties[200]. Plants are resistant to root-knot nematodes[298].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow early spring in a warm greenhouse. Germination is usually quite rapid. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. Give them some protection until they are growing away well. A sowing outdoors in situ during April might work, though if the summer is cool the plants might not flower and set seed. Cuttings - easy.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

False Roselle, African rosemallow, Cranberry Hibiscus

AFRICA: Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Côte D Ivoire, Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Hibiscus cannabinusKenaf, Brown IndianhempAnnual/Perennial1.8 6-12 FLMHNM423
Hibiscus diversifoliusSwamp HibiscusShrub1.0 9-11  LMHNM21 
Hibiscus heterophyllusNative RosellaShrub1.8 9-11  LMHNM201
Hibiscus moscheutosSwamp Rose Mallow, Crimsoneyed rosemallow, Wild Cotton, Common Rosemallow, Eastern Rosemallow, SwampPerennial2.5 6-9 MLMHSNM12 
Hibiscus mutabilisCotton Rose, Dixie rosemallowShrub3.0 7-10  LMHNM221
Hibiscus radiatusMonarch Rosemallow. Ruby hibiscus, ClavelinaShrub2.0 9-11 MLMHSNM212
Hibiscus rosa-sinensisChinese Hibiscus, Shoeblackplant, Hawaiian Hibiscus, Tropical Hibiscus, China Rose, Rose-of-China, SShrub2.5 9-11 FLMHNM333
Hibiscus sabdariffaRoselleAnnual/Perennial3.0 9-12  LMHNM332
Hibiscus sinosyriacusRose Of SharonShrub3.0 6-9 MLMHSNM423
Hibiscus syriacusRose Of Sharon, Althaea, Shrub Althea, Hardy HibiscusShrub3.0 5-9 MLMHSNM422
Hibiscus tilliaceusBeach Hibiscus, Sea HibiscusTree8.0 10-12 FLMNDMWe213
Hibiscus trionumFlower Of An HourAnnual/Perennial0.6 9-11 FLMHNDM210
Talipariti tiliaceumBeach Hibiscus, Sea Hibiscus, Cottontree, MahoeTree10.0 10-12 FLMHNMWe324

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


Welw. ex Hiern.

Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Carol Brown   Sat Apr 15 2006

do you have a photo of this plant??

alimac   Sun May 21 2006

This plant grows easily and quickly in Queensland Australia. Dark red maple leaves, ruby red-wine coloured flowers.Growing very successfully on the sand islands of southern Morton Bay

   Mon Oct 16 2006

some good pictures of this and other members of the genus can be found at http://www.malvaceae.info/Genera/Hibiscus/galleryF.html

   Sun Oct 8 2006

Hibiscus (section Furcaria) Gallery photos

Jason Spotswood   Thu Jan 21 2010

It propagates readily through cuttings. Simply place a cutting in some water and it will root. Then transfer to pot or the garden.

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Subject : Hibiscus acetosella  
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