Along with our partner in Burkina Faso, we have established 3 networks of Hibiscus collection in the country. The first one, located in the west near the border with Mali is organized by harvesters of the villages that belong to the same parish. We support the villagers’activity by pre-financing the purchase of the seeds and by putting forward the funds during harvesting for the purchase of the chalices under the auspices of the local priest. Our second Hibiscus collecting zone is located in the center of the country, where we support village women organizations in order to supplement their income. Lastly, we occasionally carry out purchases with local women vendors during their weekly markets in the South of the country.
The calix is concrescent and its lower half is trumpet–shaped. Its upper half is separated into five acuminate and curved petals. The petals have a marked median vein that is slightly protuberant and carry a thick nectariferous gland that measures 1mm in diameter. The calyculus is composed of 8 to 12 narrow leaflets but are enlarged at the base , adhering to the base of the calyx. The calyx and the calyculus are fleshy, dry, brittle and bright red or dark purple, but tend to slightly lighten at the base of the inner face.
The hibiscus is a large herbaceous perennial plant (it can grow many meters high)
The stem can be totally smooth or slightly hairy and sometimes topped with sparse green or reddish spines. The leaves are alternate, simple with a lobed leaf blade, sometimes undivided, and attaining 15cm X 15 cm in size, often with a toothed margin, smooth or lightly hairy and sometimes topped with sparse spines on its median vein. The veins are palmed. Flowers are solitary and grow on the axils of the leaves. They possess independent ovate petals, and reaching up to 5cm X 3,5 cm in size. They can be pale yellow or pink, and its center is usually dark violet- red.
In West Africa dried hibiscus calyx is used in the preparation of herbal teas that are consumed either hot or cold. This drink is reputed for its capacity to reduce high blood pressure.