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Hibiscus sabdariffa - L.

Common Name Roselle
Family Malvaceae
USDA hardiness 9-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Disturbed ground[238].
Range Tropics - probably tropical central or western Africa.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Hibiscus sabdariffa Roselle

Hibiscus sabdariffa Roselle


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Hibiscus sabdariffa is a ANNUAL/PERENNIAL growing to 3 m (9ft) by 2 m (6ft).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10 and is frost tender. It is in flower from August to October, and the seeds ripen from October to November. 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


Plant Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Leaves  Oil  Oil  Root  Seed
Edible Uses: Coffee  Condiment  Drink  Oil  Oil  Pectin  Tea

The fresh calyx (the outer whorl of the flower) is eaten raw in salads, is cooked and used as a flavouring in cakes etc and is also used in making jellies, soups, sauces, pickles, puddings etc[74, 171, 183, 269]. The calyx is rich in citric acid and pectin and so is useful for making jams, jellies etc[240, 269]. It is also used to add a red colour and to flavour to herb teas[238, 269], and can be roasted and used as a coffee substitute[183]. A refreshing and very popular beverage can be made by boiling the calyx, sweetening it with sugar and adding ginger[183]. Tender young leaves and stems - raw or cooked[177, 269, 272]. Used in salads, as a potherb and as a seasoning in curries, they have an acid, rhubarb-like flavour[183, 238, 269]. Seed - roasted and ground into a powder then used in oily soups and sauces[177, 183]. The roasted seeds have been used as a coffee substitute that is said to have aphrodisiac properties[269]. Root - it is edible but very fibrousy[144]. Mucilaginous, without very much flavour[144]. The seed yields 20% oil[74]. (This is probably edible[K]).

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.
Antibilious  Antiscorbutic  Antiseptic  Aphrodisiac  Appetizer  Aromatic  Astringent  Cholagogue  
Demulcent  Digestive  Diuretic  Emollient  Febrifuge  Hypotensive  Poultice  
Purgative  Refrigerant  Resolvent  Sedative  Stomachic  Tonic

Roselle is an aromatic, astringent, cooling herb that is much used in the Tropics. It is said to have diuretic effects, to help lower fevers and is antiscorbutic[74, 238]. The leaves are antiscorbutic, emollient, diuretic, refrigerant, and sedative[269]. The leaves are very mucilaginous and are used as an emollient and as a soothing cough remedy. They are used externally as a poultice on abscesses[269]. The fruits are antiscorbutic[269]. The flowers contain gossypetin, anthocyanin, and the glycoside hibiscin[269]. These may have diuretic and choleretic effects, decreasing the viscosity of the blood, reducing blood pressure and stimulating intestinal peristalsis[269]. The leaves and flowers are used internally as a tonic tea for digestive and kidney functions[74, 238]. Experimentally, an infusion decreases the viscosity of the blood, reduces blood pressure and stimulates intestinal peristalsis[240]. The ripe calyces are diuretic and antiscorbutic[269]. The succulent calyx, boiled in water, is used as a drink in the treatment of bilious attacks[269]. The seeds are diuretic, laxative and tonic[269]. They are used in the treatment of debility[269]. The bitter root is aperitif and tonic[269]. The plant is also reported to be antiseptic, aphrodisiac, astringent, cholagogue, demulcent, digestive, purgative and resolvent[269]. It is used as a folk remedy in the treatment of abscesses, bilious conditions, cancer, cough, debility, dyspepsia, dysuria, fever, hangover, heart ailments, hypertension, neurosis, scurvy, and strangury[269]. One report says that the plant has been shown to be of value in the treatment of arteriosclerosis and as an intestinal antiseptic, though it does not say which part of the plant is used[269]. Simulated ingestion of the plant extract decreased the rate of absorption of alcohol, lessening the intensity of alcohol effects in chickens[269].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Dye  Fibre  Oil  Oil  Pectin  String

A strong fibre obtained from the stem (called rosella hemp) is used for various household purposes including making sackcloth, twine and cord[74, 171, 238, 272]. A yellow dye is obtained from the petals[240]. It is used in medicines etc[74]. The seed yields 20% oil[74].

Special Uses

Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers a well-drained humus rich fertile soil in full sun[200]. Roselle requires a permeable soil, a friable sandy loam with humus being preferable; however, it will adapt to a variety of soils[269]. It is not shade tolerant and must be kept weed-free[269]. It will tolerate floods, heavy winds or stagnant water[269]. Roselle is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation of 64 to 429cm, an annual temperature in the range of 12.5 to 27.5°C and a pH of 4.5 to 8.0[269]. This species is not hardy in Britain, but it can be grown as a half-hardy annual, flowering in its first year from seed[200]. Plants are sensitive to the length of daylight and do not flower if there are more than 13 hours of light in the day[169]. Roselle is widely cultivated in the Tropical and Sub-tropical zones for its fibre and edible calyx, there are some named varieties[183]. Roselle is best suited to tropical climates with a well-distributed rainfall of 1500 - 2000 mm yearly, from sea-level to about 600 m altitude[269]. It tolerates a warmer and more humid climate than kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus), but is more susceptible to damage from frost and fog[269]. Plants exhibit marked photoperiodism, not flowering at shortening days of 13.5 hours, but flowering at 11 hours. In the United States plants do not flower until short days of late fall or early winter. Since flowering is not necessary for fibre production, long light days for 3 - 4 months is the critical factor[269]. There are two main forms of the plant:- var. sabdariffa has red or pale yellow inflated edible calyces but a poor quality fibre; var. altissima is grown for its fibre but has inedible calyces[269]. Plants have a deep penetrating taproot[269].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow early spring in a warm greenhouse. Germination is usually fairly rapid. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If growing them as annuals, plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer and protect them with a frame or cloche until they are growing away well. If hoping to grow them as perennials, then it is better to grow them on in the greenhouse for their first year and to plant them out in early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Overwinter them in a warm greenhouse and plant out after the last expected frosts.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Roselle, Jamaican Tea, Maple-Leaf Hibiscus, Florida Cranberry, October Hibiscus, Red Sorrell, Abema, Amukan, Carcade, Cay bup giam, Chidede, Chinbaung ywet, Chukar, Chukiar, Ekiganga, Emalakany, Emelakwang, Fol-lere, Florida cranberry, Gamet walanda, Gisma, Gurguzu, Indian sorrel, Kahcieb priew, Kalabi, Karcade, Karkady, Ka-santhor, Kata bahaji petua, Krachiap-daeng, Krachiap, Kuluba, Lakher-anthur, Lal-ambadi, Lal-ambari, Lal-mista, Lokeke, Malakwang, Mei gui qie, Mesta tenga, Mphesya, Ngayi-ngayi, Ojo, Oseilla rouge Patwa, Polechi, Pulichchai, Pulincha kira, Pundibija, Quimbombo chino, Rata bilincha, Red Sorrel, Roozera, Rosela, Sakpa, Sato, Sawa-sawa, Shan qie zi, Shilot sougree, Slok chu, Sorel, Sour-sour, Sure, Tenga more, Thakhlao maikhri, acedera de guinea, ambashthaki, amba??haki (root), ambodi, bissap, carcade, carurú-de-guiné, florida cranberry, gongura, hamaíga, hibisci flos, hibisci sabdariffae flos, hibiscus, indian sorrel, indian-sorrel, jamaica, jamaica sorrel, jamaica, flor, jamaica-sorrel, jamaican sorrel, karkade, karkadè, karkadé, kaunria, kempu pundrike pullichekir, ketmie, khataa, kolada, lalambari, malventee, masts pal, mesta, oseille de guinee, oseille de guinée, pariccakam, patna, patsan, pudisoppu, pulicheera, pulichikire, pundikura, quiabo-azedo, quiabo-de-angola, quiabo-roxo, quiabo-róseo, red sorrel, red-sorrel, rosa de jamaica, rosela, rosella, roselle, rosellhibiskus, roseneibisch, sabdariffa-eibisch, serení, sorrel, sour sour, tak bhend, thé rose d’abyssinie., vinagreira.

Africa, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Asia, Australia, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central Africa, Central African Republic, Central America, Chad, China, Congo DR, Congo R, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Dominica, East Africa, Egypt, Equatorial-Guinea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guiana, Guinea, Guinée, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Hawaii, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kenya, Laos, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Africa, North America, Northeastern India, Pacific, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Philippines, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, SE Asia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Southern Africa, South America, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Tanzania,

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 : This taxon has not yet been assessed

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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



Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

Readers comment

victor pellizzer   Sat Oct 23 01:08:46 2004

por favor necesito informacion sobre hibiscus sabdarifa ( zona de orige , cultivares propiedades productos

Link: victorpellizzer@ yahoo.com.ar

Allaaeddin El Salabi   Fri Jan 4 2008

I studied the antibacterial activities from Calyx, leaves and stems of Hibiscus sabdariffa L. since 2001 and i found that this plant has antibacterial activities against human pathogenic bacteria which are E.coli, Bacillus cerus,Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The most significant and active part was the Calyx which known to contain Flavonoides.

ks   Thu Jul 8 02:54:35 2004

may i know wat is the details of the method if i want to do biochemistry of roselle seeds for lipid and cabohydrate?by using HPLC method for lipid,n GCMS method for carbohydrate?

Olatubosun Dare Benjamin   Thu May 18 2006

My wife has been preparing a drink for about 5years with this plant. I strongly believe in this drink and I knoe there is more to it than meets the eye. Anytime I take it, there is this cleansing effect it has on me. I believe strongly that this plant can profer solutions to all the health hazzards the world is experiencing. Please I need a well researched write-up to this effect.

Neil D. Banda   Wed May 31 2006

There is something in this herb that makes it so special. I have been taking it for the past two years and my health has improved greatly. At the age of 62 I feel I am only fourty. I grow it and am currently introducing it to my country forks.Even the products from it ie;-tea,jam,juice and wine they are all a speciality. Try it you will agree with.

richard uchenna   Mon Aug 7 2006

please a lot of people have been taking the extracts of the calyx of this plant just as a drink,maybe appetizer.please i want to know the carbohydrate and ascorbic acid content of extracts from the plant's calyx.i need methodology of determining these two parameters.Their RDAs and any other information.please contact me on [email protected] you in anticipation

erzsike   Fri Sep 29 2006

This is a plant of the tropics, I grow it in Venezuela, everything i harvest sells, people just love it. any questions write [email protected]

Raoul SIE   Tue Sep 25 2007

I would know if - someone works on somatic embryogenesis of Hibiscus sabdariffa - There is a difference between H. sabdariffa var. altissima and H. cannabinus

Jumoke Olatubosun   Thu May 18 2006

Please I will appreciate it if detailed pieces of information about this plant e.g the medical implication can be sant to me. I am doing a work on it.please I can be contacted at: [email protected]

   Mon Aug 7 2006

please i need methodology for determining carbohydrate and ascorbic acid content of hibiscus sabdariffa

   Wed Aug 23 2006

There is a company called Shalai Limited who have developed and produced a totally natural soft drink from Hibiscus and it tastes wonderful. Have a look at their website www.shalai.com.

MARX AYIGBEDE   Thu Sep 21 2006


inalegwu enyi   Mon Sep 25 2006

inalegwu enyi mon sept 2006 multifunctional plant.i am interested in buyers of this wonderfull herb.grown naturally.please contact [email protected] u

pat   Sun Nov 12 2006

does it has any influence in increasing the haemoglobin content

Rowan Al_Srouji   Mon Jan 1 2007

how do we use the Karkade` to increase blood pressure and how do we use it to decrease blood pressure? I have an idea that if we boil Hebiscus with water ,or boiling water then addind Hebiscus has another medical way for blood pressure! please answer me! Im a biochmist

evert   Tue May 29 2007

im doing my research in faculty of dentistry in indonesia... my question is there any possible benefit of rosella as antiplauqe? can i have the biochemical contents of rosella...

khidir hussain nassar   Tue Jun 19 2007

I need to know if there is any machine use to harvest hibiscus? I see if you grow good species of hibiscus will produce 2 types bad and good species but if you grow bad will give only bad

bobbin holley   Fri Jun 22 2007

I am trying to decrease my carbon footprint. Love the herb, want to grow it, that way I won't be importing the stuff, and I will know that it is truly organic. I live in central California, where the summers are hot, and the winters are mild. I can grow most tropicals without much winter loss. Thanks for your help. [email protected]

jamlerose   Mon Jul 16 2007

after reading all of these information about H.sabdariffa,i became more interested to study about its capabilities and benefits to the people...does it possess an antimicrobial effecet also??? plsease answer my question...thanks!!!!

Diego González Ugalde   Thu Oct 25 2007

Por favor necesito un método de HPLC adecuado para aislar las antocianinas presentes en Hibiscus sabdariffa

Keanu   Thu Dec 13 2007

Hi, I am currently doing a study on Roselle. Focus and documentation of its uses, study and benefits is on its calyx and flower. How about its stem and leaves aside from it's a good source of fiber? I will appreciate if someone can provide me related/additinal information.

Allaaeddin El Salabi   Tue Jan 15 2008

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a gram negative bacterium known to cause Hospital aquiered Infections and it is isolated from many patients suffering from antibiotic resistant bacteria. Hibiscus sabdariffa L. Calyx extracts were effective against hospital isolated P.aeruginosa

Greenpark21   Sat Jan 12 2008

Dear Allaaeddin El Salabi: I am interested your finding that antibacterial activities from Hibiscus sabdariffa L. Would you tell me where can find the article? Thank you in advance.

Liliana Sartor   Sun Jan 13 2008

I have been trying to find Karkadé tea in England for many a year (my parents used it on a daily basis in Italy and as well as liking the taste I find its medicinal properties very interesting). I would be very grateful if anyone could suggest were I could buy this tea here in England.

ibnyasseen   Tue Feb 5 2008

Hello, I've heared from some health professionals that this plant increases blood pressure if infused in hot water but i have found no scientific evidences about this, can anyone help ??? Thanks To Allaaeddin, I expect that you have tested it in vitro, but there is thousands of herbal extracts that kills Pseudomonas Aeruginosa and we have, till now, no data about in vivo activities of karkade. So maybe you can test it if thing is possibel, it will not take a lot of time. Good chance

Blittersdorff   Sun Apr 20 2008

My Hibiscus sabdariffa grows very well at an altitude of 1860m above sea level, gives excelent results and a superb tea prepared from the calyxes. The field is located at Sumbawanga Rukwa Region in Tanzania. Robert

anna mussa   Wed Apr 23 2008

i would like to know nutritional content and if making jam how do imke it from H sabdariffa? im growing from this year january and it has alredy started to give out calyx Anna Mussa from Tanzania/Daresalaam

scholastica   Tue Jan 13 2009

wikepedia the free encyclopedia please l need details of the medicinal uses and the nutritional content of hibiscus sabdariffa, l need a reply fast please,i am doing my project work on this

Pushpalata   Thu Jan 29 2009

Distribution of this plant globally and in India.

obbo jude   Tue Feb 10 2009

iam a buyer of hibiscus sabdariffa dried flowers . i would like to buy volumes of hibiscus for exports if you are in tanzania , kenya or uganda please let me know if i can get to buy this products my conducts are +256712466657 or email [email protected] best regards to all

rudy soeyono   Tue Mar 17 2009

palmtrikarya plant and sell of hibiscus sabdariffa

Dennis Knaack   Sun Mar 22 2009

would like to buy the Hibiscus sabdariffa plant, but where in the northeast united Staes

massira sy   Fri Mar 27 2009

i am doing a job about hibiscus sabdariffa'properties.please could you send me more details about your research?my e-mail is : [email protected] a lot

Rudy   Mon Apr 6 2009

PALMTRIKARYA Plantation of Hibiscus Sabdariffa in Indonesia

olufemi,ALABA   Fri Apr 17 2009

have read some information about this Hibiscus sabdafiffa but nothing has been said about using it's extract as semen extender in reproductive physiology.Please if their is any information in this regard kindly forward it to my e-mail box;[email protected] i am a postgraduate student in the department of animal science university of ibadan,nigeria.I appreciate the good work you are doing.

kefas shalbugau   Tue Apr 21 2009

i am a student working on preparation of wine drink from hibiscus sabdaraffa calyx, i need relevant informations about this plant

kefas shalbugau   Tue Apr 21 2009

i am a student working on preparation of wine drink from hibiscus sabdaraffa calyx

agnostophobe   Sat Nov 28 2009

all i find is 'folk' remedies on 'hibiscus sabdariffa'. anything out there that is more substantive?

   Oct 2 2014 12:00AM

Carlsen, Monica H et al 1910 Nutrition Journal 9:3 www.nutritionj.com/content/9/1/3; the accompanying 138pp Antioxidant Foods Table lists ‘flor de jamaica’ tea at 6.99mmol/100g, a very respectable value for a beverage. In USA, Dr. Greger's website NutritionFacts.org praises this tea and gives a recipe for daily use, using Celestial Seasoning’s Red (and other) Zinger, which since 1972 has this plant as first ingredient. CS since 2000 is part of Hain, which unfortunately belongs to the Grocery Mfrs Assn, whose $$ helped defeat attempts to label genetically-modified foods in several states. The founder had retired, for the second time, in 2002.

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