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Hibiscus acetosella 'Red Shield'


Hibiscus acetosella 'Red Shield'

Family Name: Malvaceae
Common Name: Red-Leaf Hibiscus, False Roselle, African Rosemallow


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Infraspecific Epithet
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Shrub
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Non-native

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Erect annual or short-lived perennial shrub that grows to 0.5 - 2.5 m tall.
Foliage Simple alternate leaves are slightly glossy and pubescent, deep red in colour and shape of the leaves is usually shallowly to deeply palmate with 3 to 5 lobes but upper leaves become undivided, with distinct nectary located at base of midrib. The leaves resemble those of the Japanese Maple. Petiole dark red.
Flowers Flowers are solitary and bisexual, borne between the leaf axils with five petals that are dark red in colour with a dark purple centre. Flowers only last for a day. 
Fruit The fruit is a woody capsule which breaks open to release seeds.
Etymology Genus Hibiscus is from the Greek word hibiskos which Roman poet Virgil used to relate to the marsh mallow plant. Species acetosella means vinegary or slightly acidic.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Leaves
Food (Fruit & Vegetable): The leaves have a tart flavour and may be used in salads or stir-fries. 

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage
Landscape Uses Skyrise / Balcony, Container Planting

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils, Disease / Pest Resistant, Easy to Grow
Maintenance Requirements Low
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Red
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Red
Flower Grouping Solitary
Flower Location Axillary
Individual Flower Shape Trumpet-shaped

Image Repository



Master ID 31446
Species ID 5843
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 22 February 2022.