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Hibiscus sabdariffa

Botanical Name : Hibiscus sabdariffa
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Hibiscus
Species:H. sabdariffa
Order: Malvales

Common Names: Roselle

Habitat:Roselle is native from India to Malaysia, where it is commonly cultivated, and must have been carried at an early date to Africa. It has been widely distributed in the Tropics and Subtropics of both hemispheres, and in many areas of the West Indies and Central America has become naturalized.

Hibiscus sabdariffa is an annual/perennial, erect, bushy, herbaceous subshrub to 8 ft (2.4 m) tall, with smooth or nearly smooth, cylindrical, typically red stems. The leaves are alternate, 3 to 5 in (7.5-12.5 cm) long, green with reddish veins and long or short petioles. Leaves of young seedlings and upper leaves of older plants are simple; lower leaves are deeply 3- to 5- or even 7-lobed; the margins are toothed. Flowers, borne singly in the leaf axils, are up to 5 in (12.5 cm) wide, yellow or buff with a rose or maroon eye, and turn pink as they wither at the end of the day. At this time, the typically red calyx, consisting of 5 large sepals with a collar (epicalyx) of 8 to 12 slim, pointed bracts (or bracteoles) around the base, begins to enlarge, becomes fleshy, crisp but juicy, 1 1/4 to 2 1/4 in (3.2-5.7 cm) long and fully encloses the velvety capsule, 1/2 to 3/4 in (1.25-2 cm) long, which is green when immature, 5-valved, with each valve containing 3 to 4 kidney-shaped, light-brown seeds, 1/8 to 3/16 in (3-5 mm) long and minutely downy. The capsule turns brown and splits open when mature and dry. The calyx, stems and leaves are acid and closely resemble the cranberry (Vaccinium spp.) in flavor.


A minor ornamental in Florida and elsewhere is the red-leaf hibiscus, H. acetosella Welw. (syn. H. eetveldeanus Wildem. & Th.) of tropical Africa, which has red stems to 8 ft (2.4 m) high, 5-lobed, red or bronze leaves, and mauve, or red-striped yellow, flowers with a dark-red eye, succeeded by a hairy seed pod enclosed in a red, ribbed calyx bearing a basal fringe of slender, forked bracts. This plant has been often confused with roselle, though its calyx is not fleshy and only the young leaves are used for culinary purposes–usually cooked with rice or vegetables because of their acid flavor.
Prefers a well-drained humus rich fertile soil in full sun. Roselle requires a permeable soil, a friable sandy loam with humus being preferable; however, it will adapt to a variety of soils. It is not shade tolerant and must be kept weed-free. It will tolerate floods, heavy winds or stagnant water. Roselle is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation of 64 to 429cm, an annual temperature in the range of 12.5 to 27.5°C and a pH of 4.5 to 8.0. This species is not hardy in Britain, but it can be grown as a half-hardy annual, flowering in its first year from seed. Plants are sensitive to the length of daylight and do not flower if there are more than 13 hours of light in the day. Roselle is widely cultivated in the Tropical and Sub-tropical zones for its fibre and edible calyx, there are some named varieties. Roselle is best suited to tropical climates with a well-distributed rainfall of 1500 – 2000 mm yearly, from sea-level to about 600 m altitude. It tolerates a warmer and more humid climate than kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus), but is more susceptible to damage from frost and fog. Plants exhibit marked photoperiodism, not flowering at shortening days of 13.5 hours, but flowering at 11 hours. In the United States plants do not flower until short days of late fall or early winter. Since flowering is not necessary for fibre production, long light days for 3 – 4 months is the critical factor. There are two main forms of the plant:- var. sabdariffa has red or pale yellow inflated edible calyces but a poor quality fibre; var. altissima is grown for its fibre but has inedible calyces. Plants have a deep penetrating taproot.
Seed – sow early spring in a warm greenhouse. Germination is usually fairly rapid. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If growing them as annuals, plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer and protect them with a frame or cloche until they are growing away well. If hoping to grow them as perennials, then it is better to grow them on in the greenhouse for their first year and to plant them out in early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Overwinter them in a warm greenhouse and plant out after the last expected frosts.

Edible Uses:
The fresh calyx (the outer whorl of the flower) is eaten raw in salads, is cooked and used as a flavouring in cakes etc and is also used in making jellies, soups, sauces, pickles, puddings etc. The calyx is rich in citric acid and pectin and so is useful for making jams, jellies etc. It is also used to add a red colour and to flavour to herb teas, and can be roasted and used as a coffee substitute. A refreshing and very popular beverage can be made by boiling the calyx, sweetening it with sugar and adding ginger. Tender young leaves and stems – raw or cooked. Used in salads, as a potherb and as a seasoning in curries, they have an acid, rhubarb-like flavour. Seed – roasted and ground into a powder then used in oily soups and sauces. The roasted seeds have been used as a coffee substitute that is said to have aphrodisiac properties. Root – it is edible but very fibrousy. Mucilaginous, without very much flavour. The seed yields 20% oil. (This is probably edible).
Medicinal Uses:
Roselle is an aromatic, astringent, cooling herb that is much used in the Tropics. It is said to have diuretic effects, to help lower fevers and is antiscorbutic. The leaves are antiscorbutic, emollient, diuretic, refrigerant, and sedative. The leaves are very mucilaginous and are used as an emollient and as a soothing cough remedy. They are used externally as a poultice on abscesses. The fruits are antiscorbutic. The flowers contain gossypetin, anthocyanin, and the glycoside hibiscin. These may have diuretic and choleretic effects, decreasing the viscosity of the blood, reducing blood pressure and stimulating intestinal peristalsis. The leaves and flowers are used internally as a tonic tea for digestive and kidney functions. Experimentally, an infusion decreases the viscosity of the blood, reduces blood pressure and stimulates intestinal peristalsis. The ripe calyces are diuretic and antiscorbutic. The succulent calyx, boiled in water, is used as a drink in the treatment of bilious attacks. The seeds are diuretic, laxative and tonic. They are used in the treatment of debility. The bitter root is aperitif and tonic. The plant is also reported to be antiseptic, aphrodisiac, astringent, cholagogue, demulcent, digestive, purgative and resolvent. It is used as a folk remedy in the treatment of abscesses, bilious conditions, cancer, cough, debility, dyspepsia, dysuria, fever, hangover, heart ailments, hypertension, neurosis, scurvy, and strangury. One report says that the plant has been shown to be of value in the treatment of arteriosclerosis and as an intestinal antiseptic, though it does not say which part of the plant is used. Simulated ingestion of the plant extract decreased the rate of absorption of alcohol, lessening the intensity of alcohol effects in chickens.

In India, Africa and Mexico, all above-ground parts of the roselle plant are valued in native medicine. Infusions of the leaves or calyces are regarded as diuretic, cholerectic, febrifugal and hypotensive, decreasing the viscosity of the blood and stimulating intestinal peristalsis. Pharmacognosists in Senegal recommend roselle extract for lowering blood pressure. In 1962, Sharaf confirmed the hypotensive activity of the calyces and found them antispasmodic, anthelmintic and antibacterial as well. In 1964, the aqueous extract was found effective against Ascaris gallinarum in poultry. Three years later, Sharaf and co-workers showed that both the aqueous extract and the coloring matter of the calyces are lethal to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In experiments with domestic fowl, roselle extract decreased the rate of absorption of alcohol and so lessened its effect on the system. In Guatemala, roselle “ade” is a favorite remedy for the aftereffects of drunkenness.

In East Africa, the calyx infusion, called “Sudan tea”, is taken to relieve coughs. Roselle juice, with salt, pepper, asafetida and molasses, is taken as a remedy for biliousness.

The heated leaves are applied to cracks in the feet and on boils and ulcers to speed maturation. A lotion made from leaves is used on sores and wounds. The seeds are said to be diuretic and tonic in action and the brownish-yellow seed oil is claimed to heal sores on camels. In India, a decoction of the seeds is given to relieve dysuria, strangury and mild cases of dyspepsia and debility. Brazilians attribute stomachic, emollient and resolutive properties to the bitter roots.

Other Uses:
A strong fibre obtained from the stem (called rosella hemp) is used for various household purposes including making sackcloth, twine and cord. A yellow dye is obtained from the petals. It is used in medicines etc. The seed yields 20% oil.

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

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.



Ceanothus fendleri


Botanical Name :Ceanothus fendleri
Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Ceanothus
Species: C. fendleri
Order: Rosales

Common Names : Fendler’s Buckbrush, Deer brier,Fendler’s Ceanothus

Habitat : Ceanothus fendleri is native to Western N. America – S. Dakota to Wyoming and Utah, south to Mexico . It grows in most situations other than deserts, but especially in pine forests in the southern Rockies, 1500 – 3000 metres.

Ceanothus fendleri is a deciduous Shrub growing to maximum  2 m (6ft 7in) at a fast rate.
It seldom exceeds 1 m (3.3 ft) tall. The stems and twigs are grayish green when young, reddish brown when mature, armed with spines up to 2.5 cm (0.98 in) long. The leaves are grayish green and thick, with dense woolly hair on the underside.

The flowers are about 2 mm across and white, borne in thick clusters emanating from the leaf axils, particularly on the older stems. They all open at once, so the plant is covered with bloom. This usually happens in June or July, but may be any time from April to October according to the altitude and weather. As in other ceanothuses, there are five spoon-shaped or hooded petals, each partly covering a stamen.
The fruits are three-celled capsules, pink and glossy, forming an approximate rounded equilateral triangle with the stem at the center. They typically ripen in August and September. When dry these pods exhibit explosive dehiscence, throwing the seeds out forcefully. The seeds are glossy dark brown, about 2 mm across

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It can fix Nitrogen.
Prefers a warm sunny position but tolerates light shade. Tolerates some lime, but will not succeed on shallow chalk. One of the hardiest members of this genus, it succeeds outdoors in many areas of the country. Plants dislike root disturbance, they should be planted out into their permanent positions whilst still small. Dislikes heavy pruning, it is best not to cut out any wood thicker than a pencil. Any pruning is best carried out in the spring. Fast growing, it flowers well when young, often in its second year from seed. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Some members of this genus have a symbiotic relationship with certain soil micro-organisms, these form nodules on the roots of the plants and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be pre-soaked for 12 hours in warm water and then given 1 – 3 months stratification at 1°c. Germination usually takes place in 1 – 2 months at 20°c[138]. One report says that the seed is best given boiling water treatment, or heated in 4 times its volume of sand at 90 – 120°c for 4 – 5 minutes and then soaked in warm water for 12 hours before sowing it. The seed exhibits considerable longevity, when stored for 15 years in an air-tight dry container at 1 – 5°c it has shown little deterioration in viability. The seed is ejected from its capsule with some force when fully ripe, timing the collection of seed can be difficult because unless collected just prior to dehiscence the seed is difficult to extract and rarely germinates satisfactorily. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, taken at a node, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth, 7 – 12 cm with a heel, October in a cold frame. The roots are quite brittle and it is best to pot up the callused cuttings in spring, just before the roots break. Good percentage

Edible Uses:

Edible Parts: Fruit; Inner bark.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Fruit.... Used for food in New Mexico. The berries are sweetened with sugar and used as food. The fruit is about 5mm wide. Strips of the inner bark can be eaten in the summer. The leaves are used as a substitute for tea.
Medicinal Uses:
The plant is sedative. An infusion has been used to treat nervousness and a poultice of the plants also used for this purpose. The leaves have been chewed to treat a sore mouth.

Other Uses:
Dye; Soap.

A green dye is obtained from the flowers. All parts of the plant are rich in saponins – when crushed and mixed with water they produce a good lather which is an effective and gentle soap. This soap is very good at removing dirt, though it does not remove oils very well. This means that when used on the skin it will not remove the natural body oils, but nor will it remove engine oil etc The flowers are a very good source, when used as a body soap they leave behind a pleasant perfume on the skin. The developing seed cases are also a very good source of saponins.

Animal interactions: Deer are particularly fond of browsing on Fendler’s ceanothus. In a study at Beaver Creek, Arizona, it was important to mule deer all year and constituted up to 6.9 percent of their summer diet and might constitute even more where other forage species are less common. Elk also eat it, as North American porcupines, jackrabbits, and livestock do to a lesser extent.

The caterpillars of Erynnis pacuvius, the buckthorn duskywing, feed on this plant and other species of Ceanothus.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.