Ambadi (Roselle, Hibiscus sabdariffa)

Save the roselle stems the next time you harvest for the leafy vegetable and for your precious roselle tea! Roselle stems make low weight and high strength ropes….

This plant is an erect, branched, smooth or nearly smooth annual herb 1 to 2 meters in height.

Roselle is cultivated in many villages as a leaf vegetable (the young leaves are cooked with fish or meat), as a sides for food, medical purposes. The roselle fibers are used as low weight and high strength ropes to lift heavy weights. Fiber is prepared from the bast of the stem.

The fully grown plant is used to extract fibers.  For the production of fiber the roselle crops is harvested at the bud stage. The stalks are tied into bundles and retted in tanks or well for 3-4 days. The retted stems are washed in running water. Then the fibers are removed from the stem and cleaned and dried in the sun. These fibers are light gold in color. The shape varies from fiber to fiber, and is also non uniform. The length of the fiber varies from 1 m to 2 m.

This method has been traditionally followed for fiber separation.

Nowadays, these fibers are also separated by mechanical crushing between the rollers and followed by cleaning with motorized combing device. The separated fibers are then dried under sunlight. During the separation of fibers from the plants, a large quantity of fibrous waste is produced. This roselle fibrous waste is used as a fertilizer for other plants during cultivation.  The fibers thus obtained have lot of impurities and these impurities are cleaned by the motorized combing device.

(As contributed by Jyoti. Tribal tip by Vitthal from village Shahada, Dist.Nandurbar , working at Chaitraban)

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