For gardeners in Florida there are many different types of hibiscus plants available in nurseries, especially easily found are hibiscus with huge blossoms of white, red, yellow, pink and soft orange.  However, there are some ancient varieties of hibiscus that are difficult to find.  Hibiscus sabdariffa has a few thousand years of history. First growing abundantly from India to Malaysia; found its way to Africa, brought to Jamaica with the slave trade and entered America during the same time. Also called Rosella and Red Sorrel because of its wonderful tart, lemony flavor that makes a favorite tea that is usually served over ice.

In Central America a popular Christmas holiday drink is made from the calyxes; a similar cold drink in Senegal is called Jus de hissap.  The seeds from Roselle Hibiscus have been ground as coffee and considered an aphrodisiac. In addition, the tender leaves and stalks are added to soups, salsas and curries.

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