Malvaceae, Hibiscus acetosella, cranberry hibiscus
March 30, 2008
Also known as ‘False Roselle’, this species, related to tree cotton, bele, and saril, has striking edible red leaves similar in shape and color to some species of Japanese maple. Cranberry hibiscus is nematode and insect resistant and does well in sandy soil. The leaves can be eaten raw and have a somewhat tangy yet agreeable flavor, similar to sorel. The pink blossoms can be blended with citrus juice and sugar to make a brightly colored beverage. I use cranberry hibiscus primarily in mixed green salads, 10 -15 percent.The leaves do contain oxalic acid, thus should not be consumed regularly in massive quantities.
Cranberry hibiscus can be propagated from either seeds or cuttings. Seedling plants tend to live longer and be more productive.