Red Leaf Hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella)


Hibiscus acetosella Welw. ex Hiern 1896, commonly called Red Leaf Hibiscus, African Rosemallow, False Roselle, Cranberry Hibiscus, Maple Sugar, Red Hibiscus or Cranberry Shield is a tropical plant, native to East and Central Africa.

Nowadays the red leaf Hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella), with its stunning, red maple-like leaves is widely distributed throughout tropical and subtropical countries in the world, especially, Central- and South America and Asia. The dark maroon colored flowers, easily confused with Hibiscus furcellatus, which has a green foliage, open just for day. We had to get up early, whilst the beautiful flower opens shortly after sunrise and start to close at about 10 o`clock AM already. Flowers, whilst fully open, get a size of about 6-7 cm in diameter. Flowering period: late Autumn - Winter. Hibiscus acetosella is mostly cultivated for its attractive red leaves, which are also edible. Leaves and flowers are used raw for salads or cooked as an ingredient for stir-fries, stews and soups and are a good source of vitamin C.

The red leaf Hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella) belongs to the mallow family (Malvaceae) and is a close relative to Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa). As we found the tropical plant a few days ago at the plant market
(Talad Kamthieng) in our home city Chiang Mai, North Thailand, we thought it might by a Roselle cultivar, as the flower buds look similar. Mature plants form bushes with heights up to about 1 meter and the beautiful red foliage contrasts with other green-leafed plants in a very pleasant way. Unfortunatly Hibiscus acetosella is as prone to pest insects, like mealybugs, spider mites, greenflies and whiteflies, as other members of the Malvaceae family.

Red Leaf Hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella)
Flower Photography © Orchids
Image: Red Leaf Hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella)

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: