While most Hibiscus plants are grown for their large showy flowers, one species known as the Cranberry Hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella) is grown mainly for its ornamental foliage. It has deeply dissected, purplish red leaves that resemble Japanese maple leaves. This plant is ideal for Singaporeans who love Japanese maples but cannot grow them because of their need for an annual cold period.
Aside from being ornamental, the young leaves are also edible, having a tart flavour and mucilaginous texture which is especially popular in Brazil. The leaves are added sparingly to salads and stir-fries, maintaining their attractive colour even after being cooked. The flowers are also added to tea, lemonade and other drinks for the purplish colour they impart.
Learn more about this plant here.
Photo credit: Boo Chih Min
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