from The American HeritageĀ® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A tropical African plant (Hibiscus sabdariffa) having flowers with yellow petals and a persistent, bright red calyx that has a pleasantly acid flavor and is used to make jelly and beverages.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Hibiscus sabdariffa, an edible flower in the hibiscus family used in Mexican gastronomy to make the infusion agua de jamaica.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. a malvaceous plant (Hibiscus Sabdariffa) cultivated in the east and West Indies for its fleshy calyxes, which are used for making tarts and jelly and an acid drink.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An East Indian rose-mallow, Hibiscus Sabdariffa, widely cultivated in the tropics, where its pleasantly acidulous calyxes are used for tarts, jellies, etc., and for making a cool refreshing drink.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. East Indian sparsely prickly annual herb or perennial subshrub widely cultivated for its fleshy calyxes used in tarts and jelly and for its bast fiber


Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
rose + -elle (Wiktionary)



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  • The plant hibiscus sabdariffa, whose mature deep maroon calyces are used to make a sugary tea variously known as roselle in Thailand, sorrel in Trinidad and the Caribbean, and jamaica in Mexico.

    June 9, 2010