Cranberry Hibiscus
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Cranberry Hibiscus
P Introduced Photo: Gary Thingnam
Common name: Cranberry Hibiscus, African rosemallow, false roselle, maroon mallow, red leaved hibiscus, red shield hibiscus • Manipuri: Sougri angangba
Botanical name: Hibiscus acetosella    Family: Malvaceae (Mallow family)

Cranberry Hibiscus is an annual to a perennial or shrubby plant with stems 0.5-2 m tall. It has 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 10×10 cm. They tend to be alternate, simple, and deeply cut with rounded toothed or jagged edges. Leaf color is a dark maroon to a patchy red/green. Stipules are linear, about 1.5 cm. Both stems and leaf-stalks (3-11 cm long) are hairless. Sepals contain 10 veins, 5 of which run to the apices of the segments; the other 5 run to the sinuses. Stems tend to be variegated. Flowers are solitary and sit atop a 1 cm long flower-stalk. They vary in color and are most often the dark maroon that is characteristic of the foliage with darker vein-like markings. Flowers are about 5 cm deep. Each flower contains numerous stamens at about 2 cm in length. The cranberry hibiscus is bisexual and is thought to be self-pollinating. It produces seeds that are kidney-shaped and dark brown with dimensions of 3×2.5 mm. Cranberry Hibiscus is native to Africa, and cultivated in NE India. Leaves - raw or cooked. An acid flavour with a mucilaginous texture, they can be added to salads or used in soups, stews etc. They can be cooked with other foods to give them an acid sorrel-like flavor,

Identification credit: Daniel L. Levy Photographed in Imphal, Manipur.

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