Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Hibiscus sabdariffa - Roselle 洛神花

Roselle, is Hibiscus sabdariffa L., a species of annual flowering plant native to the tropics of Old World.  Some says its from Africa, others say its from India...  Something for sure, it has been long cultivated in both Africa and Asia. 

Roselle is called by many names in different parts of the world, among the prominent ones are : flor de Jamaica, sorrel, bissap, asam paya, 洛神花 ,etc.  

The generic name is derived from the Greek word  βίσκος ( hibískos ), which was the name Pedanius Dioscorides (ca. 40–90) gave to Althaea officinalis.

Besides being called Hibiscus sabdariffa, roselle too have other synonyms : Abelmoschus cruentus Bertol., H. cordofanus Turcz., H. digitatus Cav., H. fraternus L., H. inermis, H. palmatilobus Baill., Sabdariffa rubra Kostel., etc

Roselle can grow up to 3 m in height. 
Leaves green to red ; alternate ; glabrous ; long-petiolate ; palmately divided into 3 – 7 lobes ; serrate margins.
Flowers large ; pink with dark-red center.
Fruits ovoid capsules, encapsulated by fleshy red calyx.

Roselle is a hermaphroditic, pollinated by insects.
It is a short-day plant, flowering when day-length is less than 13.5 hour.
Propagation is by seeds
Several cultivars are known : ‘Arab’, ‘Archer’, ‘Rico’, ‘Victor’, ‘Terengganu’, ’UMKL-1’,  etc

Roselle had been used in traditional medicine as a diuretic, laxative, and treatment for cardiac and verve disease.
Calyces are used as food colorings, infused into drink, made into jams, etc.
Young leaves are consumed as greens.  Heated leaves are applied to cracks in feet.  Mashed leaves are used to treat wounds and sores.

Roselle is rich in anthocyanins and protocatechuic acid.  Small amounts of myrtiline, chrysanthenin and delphinidin are also present.
Dried calyces contains gossypetin, hibiscetine and sadaretine.
Seeds contant g-tocopherol.

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