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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.



Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

Botanical Name : Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Hibiscus
Species:H. rosa-sinensis

Synonyms Hibiscus boryanus. Hibiscus festalis. Hibiscus storckii

Common Names: Chinese Hibiscus, Shoeblackplant, Hawaiian Hibiscus, Tropical Hibiscus, China Rose, Rose-of-China
Indian Vernacular Names:
Marathi – Jakhand
Bangla – Jaba
Tamil – sembaruthi
Hindi – Jabakusum, Gurhul, Jaba
Malayalam – cemparatti
Oriya – Mandara
Sinhala – Wada Mala / Sapaththu mala
Telugu – Mamdaram
Indonesian – Kembang Sepatu
Filipino – Gumamela
Myanmar – Khaung-Yann
Punjabi – Salu

Habitat : Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is native to South East Asia. It can grow anywhere in worm climate.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is a bushy, evergreen shrub or small tree growing 2.5–5 m (8–16 ft) tall and 1.5–3 m (5–10 ft) wide, with glossy leaves and solitary, brilliant red flowers in summer and autumn. The 5-petaled flowers are 10 cm (4 in) in diameter, with prominent orange-tipped red anthers.


The root is a branched tap root. The stem is erect, green, cylindrical and branched. The leaf is simple, with alternate phyllotaxy and is petiolate. The leaf shape is ovate, the tip is acute and margin is serrated. Venation is unicostate reticulate. (Venation is branched or divergent.) Free lateral stipules are present.

The flower is complete (bisexual), actinomorphic, pentamerous, hypogynous, and solitary. It can bloom all year round.Bloom Color: Orange, Pink, Red, Salmon, White, Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Early spring, Late summer, Late spring, Mid summer, Mid spring. Form: Oval, Vase.
Prefers a well-drained humus rich fertile soil in a warm, sheltered position in full sun. A very ornamental plant, it is not very frost-tolerant and needs to be grown in essentially frost-free areas. It might succeed outdoors in the very mildest areas of the country if given a very sheltered warm position. Alternatively, it might be possible to grow the plant as a tender annual by starting it off early in a warm greenhouse. If well-grown it can flower and set seed in its first year. This species grows very well in a frost-free conservatory in Northern Europe so long as it is in a sunny position and free from draughts. Plants will often lose most of their leaves in cool winters, though they will normally regenerate quickly as the warmer weather returns. The flowers of Chinese hibiscus are very important in Hindu devotional ceremonies, being sacred to the Elephant God, Ganesh. Individual flowers are short-lived, in many modern cultivars the flowers wither after 24 hours though in many of the older cultivars they can last for 48 hours. There are many named forms, selected for their ornamental value. Special Features:Attracts birds, Not North American native, Attracts butterflies, Blooms are very showy.

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 flowers of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis are edible and are used in salads in the Pacific Islands. Young leaves are sometimes used as a spinach substitute. A nutritional analysis is available. Flowers – raw or cooked. They can also be made into a kind of pickle or used as a purple dye for colouring foods such as preserved fruits and cooked vegetables. A nutritional analysis is available. Root – it is edible but very fibrousy. Mucilaginous, without very much flavour. In several countries the flowers are dried to use in a beverage, usually tea.

Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Flowers (Fresh weight)

•0 Calories per 100g
•Water : 89.8%
•Protein: 0.06g; Fat: 0.4g; Carbohydrate: 0g; Fibre: 1.56g; Ash: 0g;
•Minerals – Calcium: 4mg; Phosphorus: 27mg; Iron: 1.7mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
•Vitamins – A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.03mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.05mg; Niacin: 0.6mg; B6: 0mg; C: 4.2mg;

Medicinal Uses:
Chinese hibiscus is a sweet, astringent, cooling herb that checks bleeding, soothes irritated tissues and relaxes spasms. The flowers are aphrodisiac, demulcent, emmenagogue, emollient and refrigerant. They are used internally in the treatment of excessive and painful menstruation, cystitis, venereal diseases, feverish illnesses, bronchial catarrh, coughs and to promote hair growth. An infusion of the flowers is given as a cooling drink to ill people. The leaves are anodyne, aperient, emollient and laxative. A decoction is used as a lotion in the treatment of fevers. The leaves and flowers are beaten into a paste and poulticed onto cancerous swellings and mumps. The flowers are used in the treatment of carbuncles, mumps, fever and sores. The root is a good source of mucilage and is used as a substitute for marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) in the treatment of coughs and colds. A paste made from the root is used in the treament of venereal diseases. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is considered to have a number of medical uses in Chinese herbology. It may have some potential in cosmetic skin care; for example, an extract from the flowers of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis has been shown to function as an anti-solar agent by absorbing ultraviolet radiation.
Other Uses:
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Hedge, Standard, Seashore, Specimen.

The flower is additionally used in hair care as a preparation. It is also used to shine shoes in certain parts of India. It can also be used as a pH indicator. When used, the flower turns acidic solutions to a dark pink or magenta color and basic solutions to green. It is also used for the worship of Devi, and the red variety is especially prominent, having an important part in tantra. In Indonesia, these flowers are called “kembang sepatu”, which literally means “shoe flower”

The juice from the petals is used in China as shoe-blacking and mascara. A dye is made from the petals. A good quality fibre is obtained from the stems. In warm sub-tropical areas the fibres can be up to 3 metres long, but in Britain they are likely to be much shorter. The fibre is used for coarse fabrics, nets and paper. Plants are often used for hedges and screens, though since they are not very cold hardy they are not suitable for this use in Britain.

National symbol:
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the national flower of Malaysia, called Bunga Raya in Malay. Introduced into the Malay Peninsula in the 12th century, it was nominated as the national flower in the year 1958 by the Ministry of Agriculture amongst a few other flowers, namely ylang ylang, jasmine, lotus, rose, magnolia, and medlar. On 28 July 1960, it was declared by the government of Malaysia that Hibiscus rosa-sinensis would be the national flower.

The word bunga in Malay means “flower”, while raya in Malay means “celebratory” or “grand”. The Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is literally known as the “celebratory flower” in Malay. The red of the petals symbolizes the courage, life, and rapid growth of the Malaysian, and the five petals represent the five Rukun Negara of Malaysia. The flower can be found imprinted on the notes and coins of the Malaysian ringgit.

Cultural references:
In March 1987 DPR Korea issued a postage stamp depicting Hibiscus rosa-sinensis.
On 7th October 2012, Sri Lanka too, issued a stamp set of four and one of it carried a Hibiscus rosa-sinensis flower.

Known Hazards : Do not use during pregnancy or if planning children.

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.


Epimedium koreanum

Botanical Name: Epimedium koreanum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Berberidaceae
Subfamily: Berberidoideae
Genus: Epimedium
Species: Epimedium koreanum
Tribes: Berberideae
Subtribes: Epimediinae

Common Names: Korean Epimedium (This fantastic selection was named after the godfather of American rock gardening, the late Harold Epstein, by plantsman Jerry Flintoff.)

Habitat : Epimedium koreanum is native to E. Asia – Korea. It grows on the wet areas in forests and mountain valleys.

Epimedium koreanum is a perennial plant growing to 0.3 m (1ft). The 5″ long and 4-1/2″ wide green leaves emerge on bright red stems and begin to unfurl just as the huge butter-yellow flowers are finishing. Epimedium ‘Harold Epstein’ makes a large clump that spreads at the rate of 8″ per year once established. This is truly a dazzling sight in flower and a superb deer-resistant groundcover in foliage!


It Spreads 6-8″ a year. It usually takes 2-3 years to establish itself and be­come most impressive. The flowers emerge before the leaflets unfurl in early spring. E. koreanum is notorious for just putting up one set of leaves per node each season. If the leaf suffers damage, the rhizome will remain dormant until the following year.

It is in flower from May to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is not self-fertile.
The plant likely to succeed outdoors in most areas of the country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Succeeds in any fertile humus-rich soil, preferring a moist but well-drained peaty loam. Grows best in the light dappled shade of a woodland. Plants can succeed in the dry shade of trees. A shallow-rooting plant, the rhizomes creeping just below the soil and the finer roots occupying the top 30cm of the soil. Plants are self-sterile and so more than one clone is required for cross-fertilization in order for seed to be produced. Plants will often hybridise with other species growing nearby. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits.
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in late summer. Sow stored seed as early as possible in the year in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in the cold frame or greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out in mid to late summer. Division in July/August according to one report, in late spring according to another. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring. Cuttings in late summer.

Medicinal Uses:
The aerial parts of the plant contain several medicaly active constituents including flavonoids and phytosteroids. They are used in Korea in the treatment of spermatrrhoea, impotence and forgetfulness. This plant is related to Epimedium grandiflorum, and contains a similar range of bioactive constituents. The uses of that plant are as follows:- The aerial parts of the plant are antiasthmatic, antibacterial, antirheumatic, antitussive, aphrodisiac, hypoglycaemic, tonic and vasodilator. Its use lowers blood sugar levels. It is used in the treatment of impotence, seminal emissions, lumbago, arthritis, numbness and weakness of the limbs, hypertension and chronic bronchitis. It has an action on the genitals similar to the male sex hormone and can increase the weight of the prostate gland and seminal vesicle, it has increased copulation in animals and increases the secretion of semens. The leaves are used as an aphrodisiac. Administered orally, the leaf extract increases the frequency of copulation in animals.
Other Uses:
‘Harold’ is a great bold-textured vigorous ground cover for large areas where it can spread unimpeded. It is especially useful in combination with early spring bulbs for sequential bloom. After bloom the expanding leaves serve as camouflage for the dying bulb foliage

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.

Epimedium koreanum Harold Epstein

Epimedium koreanum ‘Harold Epstein’