Hibiscus acetosella Welw. ex HiernCat. Afr. Pl. 1: 73 1896. (Syn: (=) Hibiscus eetveldeanus De Wild. & T. Durand; Hibiscus surattensis var. eetveldeanus (de Wild. & Th. Dur.)
Angola, W-Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Sao Tome, Principe Isl., Benin (I), South Sudan (I), Java (I), Jamaica (I), Peru (I), Haiti (I), Dominican Republic (I), Puerto Rico (I), Paraguay (I), Nicaragua (I), Ecuador (I), Bahamas (I), Mexico (I), Venezuela (c), Colombia (I), Bolivia (c), Honduras (I), Costa Rica (I), Mauritius (I), La Runion (I), Taiwan (I), USA (I) (Florida (I)) as per Catalogue of Life;
Common name: Cranberry Hibiscus, African rosemallow, false roselle, maroon mallow, red leaved hibiscus, red shield hibiscus • Manipuri: Sougri angangba
As per efi thread : Hibiscus furcatus Wall. is the synonym of H. surattensis L., a name used in FBI and still holding true (fork has one spoon shaped appendage and one small erect linear branch; stipules large leafy ear-shaped; leaves 3-5-fid)
Hibiscus furcatus Roxb. described in FBI and now correctly known as H. hispidissimus Griff. (both forks linear; stipules lanceolate-oblong; leaves entire or 3-lobed)
Hibiscus furcatus Willd., a synonym of  Hibiscus rostellatus Guill. & Perr. an African plant not found in India

Other expected species in India, cultivated or naturalised from this group (forked epicalyx segments) include.
Hibiscus radiatus Willd. epicalyx 8-10, with linear fork segments, stipules linear; leaves deeply 3-5 lobed.
Hibiscus acetosella: epicalyx 9-10, apically forked, leaves irregularly 3-5 lobed.
Hibiscus cannabinus looks similar to above two species but is distinct in deeply 3-7-parted leaves and importantly with epicalyx segments not being forked.

Cranberry hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella) is an angiosperm of the genus Hibiscus L. or rosemallow. The word acetosella is of Latin origin and is derived from an old name for sorrel (Oxalis) which comes from the sour taste experienced when eating the young leaves of the plant.[1]
Hibiscus acetosella is also known colloquially as African rosemallow, false roselle, maroon mallow, cranberry hibiscus, red leaved hibiscus, and red shield hibiscus.[2] It is one of the approximately 200–300 species that are seen in sub-tropic and tropic regions.[2]
This ornamental is usually found in abandoned fields or open areas, marshes, and forest clearings.[2] Cranberry hibiscus is a member of a perennial group known as hardy hibiscus.[3] In contrast to the tropical hibiscus, hardy hibiscus can tolerate colder conditions, are more vigorous, longer lasting, and have larger flowers.[3] In colder climates, Hibiscus acetosella is easily an annual, but is often regarded as a perennial to zone 8–11. During one season, the plant can grow 90–170 cm (3–5 feet) tall and 75 cm (30 inches) wide as a shrub-subshrub.[4]
The foliage of cranberry hibiscus is similar to that of the Japanese maple. It has dicot leaves which vary in shape from 3-5-lobed to un-lobed or undivided in the upper leaves of the plant and are generally the size of a small child’s hand, about 10×10cm.[2][5] They tend to be alternate, simple, and deeply cut with crenate or jagged edges.[1] Leaf color is observed as a dark maroon to a patchy red/green appearance. Stipules are linear, measured approximately 1.5 cm in length.[2] Both stems and petioles (3–11 cm in length) are smooth or generally free from hair.[2] Acetosella is further divided into a section called Furcaria, which is a group of approximately 100 species that have non-fleshy calyx or sepals.[2] The sepals contain 10 veins, 5 of which run to the apices of the segments; the other 5 run to the sinuses.[2] Stems tend to be variegated.[4] Flowers are solitary and sit atop a 1 cm long pedicel. They vary in color and are most often the dark maroon that is characteristic of the foliage with darker vein-like markings. Flowers are rarely yellow in color and are about 5 cm {2 inches} deep. Each flower contains numerous stamens at about 2 cm in length.[2] The cranberry hibiscus is bisexual and is thought to be self-pollinating. It produces seeds that are reniform and dark brown with dimensions of 3×2.5 mm.[2]
Cranberry hibiscus is mostly known for its slightly sour or pleasantly tart young leaves which are commonly used as a vegetable, either raw or cooked. In South America, the leaves are used sparingly in salads and stir-fries. Leaves are eaten in small quantities due to acid content and because they are mucilaginous. Cranberry hibiscus leaves also contribute to the décor of various dishes since they retain their color after being cooked.[7]
Flowers are used to make teas or other drinks where they contribute color rather than taste. In Central America the flowers are combined with ice, sugar, lemon, or lime juice and water to make a purple lemonade.[2][7]
The root is edible however thought of as fibrous and distasteful.[2] Contrary to similar species such as the Hibiscus sabdariffa, the calyx or sepals of Hibiscus acetosella is non-fleshy and not eaten.[7] In Angola a tea made from the leaves of cranberry hibiscus are used as a post-fever tonic and to treat anemia.[2] The plant is also utilized to treat myalgias by crushing leaves into cold water to bathe children.[2] The plant is thought to contain polyphenols, a compound that combats reactive nitrogen and oxygen species or RNOS that are generated as a biproduct from the body`s inflammatory response. Therefore it is commonly used to treat inflammatory diseases.[8]
(From Wikipedia on 17.7.13)



orn. malvaceae from Hooghly 3/11/12 sk2:  

I attach photos of an ornamental under shrub, recorded on the 29th August, 2012 and today. Comparing this plant with my very recent post of another Hibiscus at – efi thread:-
  1. the plant is reddish with violet hue
  2. lobes of the leaves are broader and less longer
  3. less prickly and prickles not as sharp as the earlier plant at the above link
  4. flowers are darker
  5. a few more differences like leaf-calyx-epicalyx colour
Another variety of Hibiscus radiatus Cav. ?
Species : UNKNOWN
H & H : ornamental herb or under-shrub in a front yard
Date : 29/8/12 & 3/11/12
Place : Hooghly

I hope H. radiatus only
Perhaps the stage of leaves about to fall, when petioles and possibly stem become reddish and leaves turning yellowish. http://growerjim.blogspot.hibiscus-radiatus.html

Thank you very much Sir, i understand that spine and shape of the epicalyx tip is the key.

my first reaction was sabdariffa
but its not
you are right
secondly your blogspot link led me to this link… about farmers’ markets… the picture it shows of a market… is soooo neat and clean… and then compare and contrast it to our mucky one… http://www.examiner.com/article/farmers-markets-help-local-economies
did you take many pictures of the market itself?

I think it should be Hibiscus acetosella rather than Hibiscus radiatus as per details, images and references herein.

Yes sir !

esp pic 109. yes you are right

Thank you Sir for the updated/corrected identity of this species. Presently I have this one in my home yard!

Fwd: Hibiscus radiatus : 7 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (2)- 3 mb each.
Posting some clicks of Hibiscus radiatus today (12/10/2019) forenoon & afternoon(closing florets) at my res garden at Bhubaneswar, Odisha

Attachments (2)- 1 & 3 mb each. 

Attachments (1) – 4 mb.

Attachments (2)- 3 mb each.

Hibiscus acetosella I think

Agree with …

Thank you Sir, thanks to … for correct id of Hibiscus asitocella


Malvaceae Week- Hibiscus sabdariffa-Var Rubra..:
I had seen this plant at Mizoram.
Bot. name: Hibiscus sabdariffa– Var. Rubra
Family: Malvaceae
Date: Nov-2008
ID ref: http://toptropicals.com/Hibiscus_sabdariffa.htm

Both flowers and leaves of this plant seems to be colorful

Although details are not clear, it may be Hibiscus acetosella Welw. ex Hiern


Hibiscus acetosella : Attachments (1). 1 post by 1 author.

Name of species- Hibiscus acetosella.

Photo taken on-18.11.2007

It is a ornamental plant

At- Smiriti van,Jaipur


ID PLEASE : Attachments (1).  4 posts by 3 authors.
I observed this plant a years back in Gangtok (Shikkim). I request for your kind attention to identify the plant.

it looks like some Begonia sp. Please check.

This photograph seems to be cropped version of earlier posted (28558) by … along with plant which … (and now … and me have identified as Holmskoeldia sanguinea). This plant in that photo looks like a shrub, and identified by … as Hibiscus acetosella.

Malvaceae for ID : Red Leaves : Atlanta Botanical Garden : Atlanta, Georgia : 06DEC18 : AK-16 : 3 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (2)
Plant seen in the garden.
Could be Hibiscus acetosella?

Yes !

Hibiscus Species for ID : Between H acetosella & H sabdariffa : Nasik : 07JAN22 : AK – 10: 3 images.
Seen at the same plant nursery.
Need to sort this between Hibiscus acetosella and Hibiscus sabdariffa.
The name given was Laal Ambadi.
The leaf was sour to taste.

Would like to add that it looks close to the one I had posted from the Atlanta Botanical Garden.
It was identified as Hibiscus acetosella.

acetosella !

Yes. I have plenty of this plant species in my garden. Edible leaves used in culinary preparations. Sour.

I think Hibiscus sabdariffa L., as per images and details herein.

I was having a doubt. Now that you have clarified I will take the species I D as suggested by you.

I guess Hibiscus acetosella ‘Panama Red’  !

O.K. There seems to be confusion. I will post the pictures of the plant being grown in my house in a separate posting.. … may please go through and finalise the ID.

I found a lot of images with this flower color under Hibiscus acetosella.

Also the leaves were very close to the one I had posted earlier from the Atlanta Botanical Garden, which I had suggested as acetosella and agreed upon by …

May I request you to post high res. images to check the stipules.
On further scrutiny, I mostly agree with Hibiscus acetosella as per POWO specimen- one and two.

2 high res. images.

Yes. Correct.

Final id Hibiscus acetosella?



Hibiscus sabdariffa from Hawaii-GS22012023-2: 2 very high res. images.
Hibiscus sabdariffa photographed by my son from Hawaii on January 2, 2023.

Yes. I have this plant in my garden.

I think it is (as per images, keys and details herein)




Catalogue of Life  The Plant List Ver.1.1  GRIN  Wikipedia  Useful tropical Plants  Flora of North America  Flowers of India  NCSU  wimastergardener  thespruce  Malvaceae of Southern Peninsular India: A Taxonomic Monograph By V. V. Sivarajan, V V & A K Pradeep