Hibiscus flowers come in many colors. They can be red, yellow, white, or peach-colored, and can be as big as 6 inches wide. The most popular variety is Hibiscus sabdariffa. The red flowers of this variety are most commonly cultivated for medical purposes, and are available as dietary supplements.
Hibiscus tea, also called sour tea because of its tart taste, is made from a mixture of dried hibiscus flowers, leaves, and dark red calyces (the cup-shaped centers of the flowers). After the flower finishes blooming, the petals fall off and the calyces turn into pods. These hold the plant’s seeds. Calyces are often the main ingredients in herbal drinks containing hibiscus.
In 2017, Nigeria exported 1,983 containers of hibiscus to Mexico alone, earning $35 million in nine months, according to the Association of Hibiscus Flower Exporters of Nigeria (AHFEN).
It takes an average of 3 to 4 months to grow and mainly cultivated in the northern states with Jigawa, Kano and Kastina leading the pack.