Rosella’s are a robust fruiting bush from the hibiscus family. Said to originate from West Africa they have have adapted so well to Australia that they have become staples in many gardens – particularly in North Queensland. A low maintenance plant that can grow to 2m, they enjoy well-drained and fertile soil.

While the Rosella’s are an attractive plant with their deep red stems, delicate flowers and handsome fruit they are grown particularly for their edible qualities. With the flower petals, calyxes (fruit), leaves and seeds all able to be used for different purposes. With the most well-known Rosella product being Jam there are plenty of lesser-known uses;

Rosella plant


The Leaves, seeds & flower petals.

Sometimes referred to as sorrel greens or sour greens the young leaves of the Rosella plant are used in Africa and South India in stir-fry or curries for their lemony taste. The delicate flower petals can also be added to salads – without a strong taste these are mostly decorative. The seeds can be roasted and ground into flour.

The Calyx (or red fruit of the Rosella)

The calyx refers to the protective red layer of the seed pods of the rosella and are tart and tangy. They are incredibly versatile and can be used fresh, dried and in cooking to make beautifully coloured and delicious Rosella products;

  • Add fresh to salads for a tart and tangy flavour
  • Make fresh tea (using it similarly to Rosehip)
  • Dry the calyx for use in tea all year round
  • Cook for jam – see recipe below
  • Can be used to make wine or cordial
  • Add to stewed fruit for colour and taste

Rosella Jam recipe

1kg of Rosellas
1 Lemon (juiced)
1 apple (grated)

Separate the red and green parts of Rosellas. Wash and place in two separate saucepans.

Add enough water to the greens to just cover and boil until the seeds become transparent. Strain to collect the juice.

To the red add the apple and 1 cup of water, boil until it becomes mushy.  Combine the red pulp with the lemon juice and seed juice.

To each cup of pulp add 1 cup of sugar. Boil until it thickens.

Scoop the foam off the top and then bottle the jam!***

This recipe is from Pauline Trappes book “A beginners guide to growing fruit and vegetables in the tropics”, it is available to purchase at our Nursery.

*** If jam doesn’t set, reheat and add jam setter. The pods have to be green as this indicates pectin is present. You can also make Rosella cordial the same way, just add more water.