Thai Roselle, Jamaican Sorrel Posted on 30 Oct 13:36 , 1 comment

Another one of my favorite heirloom varieties is the Thai Roselle, also called Jamaican Sorrel, Florida Cranberry or Red Thai Hibiscus.  This is another unique variety that would make a great addition to your garden!

From Mary's Heirloom Seeds,
"A valuable plant for making cranberry-flavored bright red beverages, jelly, pie and tea. Much grown in Asia and the mid-east as the flavor is wonderful. A tasty sauce can be made by boiling and sweetening the fleshy calyxes; the leaves are also used to make a drink. The entire plant of this Hibiscus is red and very beautiful. Start early, unless you live in the far-south. Citrus-flavored flowers are delicious on frozen deserts.
Also called Jamaican Sorrel, Florida Cranberry and Hibiscus"


Roselle was called “Florida cranberry” in the 1890s. The flowers and young leaves are edible and have a citrus tang.

Hibiscus, of which Roselle is a variety of, is a tropical plant, but if started indoors it can be grown successfully in more northern climates.  You want to start your Thai Red Roselle around the same time you would plants like peppers, tomatoes and eggplants. Since this is a heat-loving plant, you want to give it as much of a head start as you can.

Thai Red Roselle is susceptible to aphids, so either use an organic spray or companion plant to control insects. Roselle branches should be pruned when they are 12-18 inches tall to help control height. These plants can reach up so 6 feet in height.

From esgreen,
"Botanically speaking, it's Hibiscus sabdariffa L. (family Malvaceae) and it’s the bushy H. sabdariffa var. sabdariffa that produces the edible products.The edible parts used to make “juice” or tea (actually, an infusion) look like reddish dried-up buds. In fact, they’re not flowers but calyces. It’s the calyx, the red, fleshy covering enclosing the flower’s seed pod, which is used for flavoring, cooking and food coloring. The flower of this variety of sabdariffa is yellow, white or light pink.

Roselle(Hibiscus) has been used in folk medicine as a diuretic and mild laxative, as well as in treating cancer and cardiac and nerve diseases. Although information is limited, the potential for hibiscus use in treating hypertension and cancer, as well as for its lipid-lowering and renal effects, are being investigated.

Although roselle is being studied, it hasn’t yet been proven to have the healing powers of bael fruit. It is high in calcium, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin C and iron, as seen on this Purdue University page. And the beverages have no caffeine. In East Africa, "Sudan tea" is consumed as medicine to cure coughs. In Guatamala, roselle is believed to cure hangovers. In Senegal, a roselle extract is said to lower blood pressure. In India, Africa and Central America, infusions made from roselle calyces or seeds are prescribed as a diuretic, to stimulate bile production and to treat fever."

Ready to make Tea with Thai Roselle


I use Thai Roselle to make a delicious tea.

Ingredients include:
Thai Roselle
Fresh Ginger, grated or chopped
2 apples, chopped
cinnamon, sticks or powder

Simmer all ingredients on low for 1 1/2 to 3 hours.  Serve hot or cold 

Dogwood Lane Rambles blog offers a simple Thai Roselle Jelly recipe 
6 cups Roselle petals
6 cups water
3/4 cups wild honey
3 tsp calcium water
3 tsp Pomona pectin
yield 2 pints 

I hope you have enjoyed another educational article and video.  Please share so that we may help more people grow their own organic food!

Sign up for our E-Newsletter