Project Description

(Hibiscus sabdariffa) / Chindambi (Tonga)

Where it can be found: Native to West Africa, China and Thailand are now the largest rosella producers. The world’s best rosella comes from the Sudan, but the quantity is low. Mexico and Jamaica, Senegal, Mali, Egypt, and Tanzania are also important suppliers but production is mostly used domestically.

Rosella grows across a wide climate range from arid, dry temperate regions through subtropical and tropical regions. Rosella can tolerate a little shade, but it normally grows best in field conditions under full sunlight. It grows best in loamy, well-drained soil. Mature plants are highly drought resistant but may require water during dry periods when soil moisture is depleted to the point where wilting occurs.

What is harvested-harvesting time: Rosella takes 4-6 months to mature and is harvested in May. The fruits are harvested fresh, decored (seed capsules removed using a simple hand-held tool) and the calyces are then dried.

Average yield per hectare: Yield is about 10 tonnes per hectare.

Rosella calyces are high in vitamin C, anti-oxidants, calcium and iron. Rosella is known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, to reduce high blood pressure and help with weight management. The seeds are high in protein.

Rosella is used in food, animal feed, nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals and pharmaceuticals.

The fleshy red calyces are used for making wine, juice, jam, jelly, syrup, spice, gelatine, ice cream and flavours and also brewed into tea, and used as sauce or filling for pies, tarts, and other desserts. The calyces can also be merely chopped and added to fruit salads.

The young leaves and tender stems are eaten raw in salads or cooked as greens alone or in combination with other vegetables and/or with meat. They are also added to curries as seasoning.

The plant is considered to have antihypertensive properties. It has been used in folk medicine as a diuretic, mild laxative, and treatment for cardiac and nerve diseases. A lotion made from the leaves is used on sores and wounds.

The seeds are considered excellent feed for chickens. The residue after oil extraction is valued as cattle feed when available in quantity.

Today, rosella is attracting the attention of food and beverage manufacturers and pharmaceutical concerns. The red calyces of the plant are increasingly exported to the United States and Europe, where they are used as food colourings to replace some synthetic dyes. Germany is the main importer.

Rosella in Binga, Zimbabwe