A very nutritious vegetable. The young leaves have a pleasantly tart flavour, eaten either raw or cooked, they retain their colour. The leaves contain oxalic acid, and should only be eaten once a week. Unlike Aibika, it is not particularly mucilaginous. Flowers are used to make teas or other drinks where they contribute colour rather than taste. In Central America the flowers are combined with ice, sugar, lemon, or lime juice and water to make a purple lemonade.This plant is a short-lived perennial shrub in the subtropics and tropics but can be grown as an annual in cooler climates. It grows rapidly to 1.7 m high with deeply cut leaves similar to Japanese maple. The leaf colour of deep cranberry red is highly ornamental; the flowers are a small, very pretty, rose-pink hibiscus-type. Cranberry hibiscus is a hardy plant that thrives when it is warm and wet; it prefers full sun but will grow in partial shade. It needs ample water, rich, fertile, well-drained soil that is kept mulched and a pH of between 6.1 and 6.5.The vivid leaf colour makes this a good choice as a background plant in ornamental beds.