The Rosella plant is a fast growing annual with few known pests. The fruit is very versatile. Often found as a jam on Queensland grocery shelves, it can also be used to make cordials and syrups, and has been traditionally dried and used as a tea in parts of Europe.
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Availability date: 19/02/2013
OTHER COMMON NAMES
Roselle, Indian Sorrel, Red Sorrel
The Rosella plant is native to India however it was naturalised centuries ago in northern Australia and has since been declared a native.
Hardy in the tropics and sub-tropics this short-lived fast growing shrub readily self-sows year after year if allowed to go to seed. The deep penetrating tap root supports the plant in obtaining the water and nutrients it needs, and helps it to withstand high winds.
Grows well in full or part sun and adapts to various soil types, also coping with intermittent water logging delivered by heavy rains during the tropical wet season. Rosella is susceptible to frost, but due to it's rapid growing and fruiting cycle it can be grown as an annual in most parts of Australia if planted after the last frost.
Flowers are hemaphrodite and pollinated by many different insects including bees, bugs, beetles and flies.
The flowers, leaves and fruit of the Rosella plant are edible. The calyx is eaten fresh or cooked and is similar in flavour to tart rhubarb. The calyx is suited to both sweet and savoury dishes and has been used as a key ingredient in various syrup, jam, chutney, tea, wine and sauce recipes. The calyx contains high levels of citric acid and pectin so jams and jellies can be made without having to add setting agents.
We have found that fruit left unharvested on the shrub becomes more attractive to pests. If you do not plan to save the seed then it is at this stage when aged fruit can be given to the chooks who will happily eat the seeds and benefit from the added protein in their diet from also eating the pests.
Fibre from the Rosella can be obtained by retting the stems. The fibre has been used to make cloth, paper and twine.
Yellow dye can be obtained from the flower petals.
The leaves and calyx have been used medicinally as an antispasmodic, and both have been taken internally as tea infusions to improve digestive and kidney functions.
|Size||Small shrub (to 1m)|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun|