One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The red sorrel, Hibiscus sabdariffa, a tropical hibiscus with pale yellow flowers and red fleshy calyces used in cooking and for making drinks and preserves. Occasionally also: any of various other kinds of hibiscus, as the eastern Australian species H. heterophyllus.
Mid 19th century. Origin uncertain. Perhaps an alteration or misapprehension of French oseille denoting this plant, specific use of oseille sorrel; perhaps compare also sorrel.
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