Rooibos (/ˈrɔɪbɒs/ ROY-boss; Afrikaans: [rɔːibɔs]; Aspalathus linearis), meaning “red bush”; is a broom-like member of the Fabaceae family of plants growing in South Africa’s fynbos.
The leaves are used to make a herbal tea that is called by the names: rooibos, bush tea (especially in Southern Africa), or redbush tea (predominantly in Great Britain). The tea has been popular in Southern Africa for generations, but is now consumed in many countries worldwide. It is sometimes spelled rooibosch in accordance with the old Dutch. The tea has a taste and color somewhat similar to hibiscus tea, or an earthy flavor like yerba mate.
The generic name comes from the Greek name aspalathos for Calicotome villosa, which has very similar growth and flowers to the rooibos plant. The specific name of linearis comes from the plant’s linear growing structure and needle-like leaves.