Malvaceae week 09 05 2011 UD 007 Hibiscus sabdariffa RED and Green fruits RED and pink flowers
Species: H. sabdariffa
Binomial name Hibiscus sabdariffa L.
Two main varieties… we are dealing with edible red fruits Rosselle : H. sabdariffa var. sabdariffa
The plant I present here was in a pot of soil, about 5 feet tall, at the tail end of its life, all fruits were ripe and leaves were mostly gone … few flowers remained… flowers were deep red… about 5 inches across, 2.5 to 3 inches long at nite when closed. The fruits were 1 to 1.5 inches long and 07 to 0.8 inches at the widest, the thick calyx was about 2 mm thick, and sour. The dried stems of the plant at the end of its life were very difficult to cut, matter of fact long thin cuts were found on my palms afterward when I had tried having a tug of war with the stems… it was then that I discovered that the other variety was non edible and source of jute like fibre… oh sure, but this : H. sabdariffa var. sabdariffa was doing quite well for itself…. The fibres it had produced must have been quite strong too….
Our Hibscus sabdariffa var. sabdariffa is an interesting vegetable….
Its called Roselle… for the red colored fleshy calyx I guess…
Striking red calyx covers the green fruit inside… the red
covering is what is we are after… mucilaginous red gooey mass upon boiling
becomes an appetizing jelly with
addition of sugar and cinnamon…. In Bengal.
In the west, we drink tea made of “Jamaican TEA” with Jamaican Rosselle, a red concoction rich in vitamin C…. add a handful in boiling water … turn off the heat, steep , add sugar, ice and enjoy a tall cool drink…
In Australia an enterprising young group of people had turned their land to some exotic use… they used to put the whole red rosselle fruit in the wine bottles and /or syrup in such a way that they looked very beautiful at the bottom of the champagne glass when transferred from their bottle to the tall champagne glass… for a few years was very popular with Brides to be… Do not know if they are still in business.
I have tried eating …cooked of course the green tiny fruit… but is totally
blah and too mucilaginous for my taste… I do make the jelly every year now.... yum...
Julia Morton has this to say about my plant: “The other distinct type of roselle, H. sabdariffa var. sabdariffa, embraces shorter, bushy forms which have been described as races: bhagalpuriensi, intermedius, albus, and ruber, all breeding true from seed. The first has green, red-streaked, inedible calyces; the second and third have yellow-green edible calyces and also yield fiber. We are dealing here primarily with the race ruber and its named cultivars with edible calyces; secondarily, the green-fruited strains which have similar uses and which may belong to race albus. “
So I guess my plant was the ruber race .
(refer ence for Ms Mortons’ essay is her famous book:
Morton, J. 1987. Roselle. p. 281–286. In:
Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL via URL: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/roselle.html
I present to you red flowered red calyxed fruited plant, red fruits from the bazaar, green calyxed fruit from the market, and green fruited pink flowered plant from the local garden....
Ps Dinesh ji I promsed I’ll do it today … here is the red
flower… of H. sabdariffa var. sabdariffa .....