As Christmas approaches, one can expect to see vendors in vans or on foot selling bags of bright, red sorrel.
Caribbean sorrel is actually the sepals of a hibiscus plant called Roselle or Hibiscus sabdariffa. It is a perennial tropical plant originating from East and West Africa and parts of Asia. Roselle is a member of the Malvaceae family which is related to okra, cotton, and cacao.
The name ‘sorrel’ that we use comes from its Spanish derived names, ‘saríl’ or ‘flor de Jamaica’. This is what the plant is known as across many English-speaking Caribbean territories and Central and South America. There are two main varieties of this plant, with one of them being a rare South African variety that produces smaller pods.