Karkadé is a drink made from Roselle.
While the roselle plant produces fruits, it is usually not these fruits but the flowers that are used to make a very tasty and bright red juice.
Flor de Jamaica
Rosa de Abisinia
Rosa de Jamaica
Oseille de Guinée
Basic information and facts
Roselle is now cultivated in all tropical regions of the
Annual, biennial, or perennial:
Roselle is an annual plant.
Roselle flowers are 8 to 10 cm in diameter. They have a white or pale yellow color with at the base of each petal a dark red spot. Flowers have a sturdy fleshy calyx at their base, which grows to be 3 to 3.5 cm wide. This calyx is fleshy and has a bright red color as the fruit matures. These calyces have a sour taste and are used to make a fruity drink or tea.
The dark green or reddish leaves are divided in 3 to 7 lobes.
Roselle has a reddish stem and can be up to 3.5 meters tall.
Climate and weather:
Roselle is pollinated by insects.
Roselle can reach a height of about 3.5 meters.
Spacing (close range)
Spacing (wide range)
Roselle is propagated by direct sowing of seeds.
The entire plant is harvested (for fibre) or just the flowers calyces or leaves are hand picked.
Roselle is often grown for its bast fibre in the stem of the plant, which can be used just like jute.
The red calyces are used to make a fruity drink. They are also used as food colorings.
Green leaves are eaten as a vegetable, just like spinach.
Many parts of the plant are used in traditional medicines, for example to treat hypertension and urinary tract infections.
Proverbs and Quotes
- A man only takes rosella to the bush to plant one time.
(A proverb from the Soninke people of West Africa: Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia and Guinea Bissau. [Yugo do Sangume wa telle gunne ta banne ya]. The proverb is used in contexts when something only needs to be done once.)
- Cooking roselle too long, taste is bitter, and staying in bachelor life too long, life is bitter.
(Mon people in Mon state, southern part of Burma myanmar have this proverb to explain too many dramas in a bachelor’s life. In Mon language: dun hwa ga jip loh,teh hoult, pa blai loh, teh shoult.)
Did you know that?
There are three varieties of Rosella: white, red and black (very dark purple) referring to the color of the flowers. In Mali, red and black Rosella are used for making a sweet drink or even popsicles sold on the street. White rosella flowers (dried) are used in cooking to give a sour flavor. Also people use the leaves of the rosella plant to make a sauce with oil (and sometimes dried fish) to eat with whatever grain they have.
1) Fresh rosella or Dried rosella 20 grams or 5 flowers
2) Syrup 30 grams (or 2 table spoon)
3) Water 200 ml
4) Salt 2 grams
Instructions how to make juice:
Clean rosella with water, boil in water. Slow the fire and simmer until it gets the very red color juice. Take away the flower, add syrup and sugar in juice and continue simmering for 1 minute. Serve as a warm or cool drink.