Plants in our sales nursery – Hibiscus sabdariffa – the source of a refreshing drink
Hibiscus sabdariffa (Malvaceae) is an African plant that is usually grown as an annual here in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. It has beautiful yellowish-pink flowers which are surrounded by red and fleshy sepals. After blossom, the sepals surround the fruit. This whorl of fleshy red sepals is called a calyx. Dried fruit-free rosella calyxes can be bought all year round at Thai markets, ready for the kitchen. You can also grow your own rosella plants, planting them in full sun in the rainy season, and harvest the calyxes in November or December. Discard the fruits and dry the calyxes in full sun for 2-3 days.
The plants are most ornamental with their red branches and yellowish-pink flowers. The ice-cold drink, resembling blackcurrant lemonade, is a thirst-quencher in your monsoon garden. If you buy three or more plants from Dokmai Garden (50 B each), then we provide you with the Seehamongkol family recipe for making the drink.
A real rosella drink should only contain natural ingredients, and be rich in flavour.