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Abelmoschus esculentus - (L.)Moench.

Common Name Okra
Family Malvaceae
USDA hardiness 5-11
Known Hazards The hairs on the seed pods can be an irritant to some people and gloves should be worn when harvesting. These hairs can be easily removed by washing[200].
Habitats Not known in a truly wild situation.
Range The original habitat is obscure.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Abelmoschus esculentus Okra


Abelmoschus esculentus Okra

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Summary

A perennial, often cultivated as an annual in temperate climates.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Abelmoschus esculentus is a ANNUAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8 and is frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Hibiscus esculentus. L.

Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit;  Leaves;  Oil;  Root;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Coffee;  Oil;  Pectin.

Immature fruit - cooked on their own or added to soups etc[2, 27]. They can be used fresh or dried[183]. Mucilaginous[133], they are commonly used as a thickening for soups, stews and sauces[183]. The fruits are rich in pectin and are also a fair source of iron and calcium[240]. The fresh fruits contain 740 iu vitamin A[240]. The fruit should be harvested whilst young, older fruits soon become fibrous[133]. The fruit can be up to 20cm long[200]. Seed - cooked or ground into a meal and used in making bread or made into 'tofu' or 'tempeh'[183]. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute[2, 27, 133]. Probably the best of the coffee substitutes[74]. The seed contains up to 22% of an edible oil[55, 74, 177, 183, 240]. The leaves, flower buds, flowers and calyces can be eaten cooked as greens[183]. The leaves can be dried, crushed into a powder and stored for later use[183]. They are also used as a flavouring[133]. Root - it is edible but very fibrous[144]. Mucilaginous, without very much flavour[144].

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antispasmodic;  Demulcent;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  Emollient;  Stimulant;  Vulnerary.

The roots are very rich in mucilage, having a strongly demulcent action[4, 21]. They are said by some to be better than marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis)[4]. This mucilage can be used as a plasma replacement[240]. An infusion of the roots is used in the treatment of syphilis[240]. The juice of the roots is used externally in Nepal to treat cuts, wounds and boils[272]. The leaves furnish an emollient poultice[4, 21, 240]. A decoction of the immature capsules is demulcent, diuretic and emollient[240]. It is used in the treatment of catarrhal infections, ardor urinae, dysuria and gonorrhoea[240]. The seeds are antispasmodic, cordial and stimulant[240]. An infusion of the roasted seeds has sudorific properties[240].

Other Uses

Fibre;  Oil;  Paper;  Pectin;  Size.

A fibre obtained from the stems is used as a substitute for jute[57, 61, 74, 169]. It is also used in making paper and textiles[171]. The fibres are about 2.4mm long[189]. When used for paper the stems are harvested in late summer or autumn after the edible seedpods have been harvested, the leaves are removed and the stems are steamed until the fibres can be stripped off. The fibres are cooked for 2 hours with lye and then put in a ball mill for 3 hours. The paper is cream coloured[189]. A decoction of the root or of the seeds is used as a size for paper[178].

Cultivation details

Industrial Crop: Fiber;  Management: Coppice;  Management: Standard;  Regional Crop;  Staple Crop: Protein-oil.

Prefers a well-drained humus rich fertile soil in full sun and a pH around 6 to 6.7[200] but it tolerates a wide range of soil types and pH from 5.5 to 8[200]. It prefers a soil with a high potash content[264]. The plant requires a warm sunny position sheltered from winds[200]. It likes plenty of moisture, both in the soil and in the atmosphere[133]. Okra is commonly cultivated in warm temperate and tropical areas for its edible seedpod, there are many named varieties[183, 200]. Most cultivars require about 4 months from sowing before a crop is produced, though some early maturing varieties can produce a crop in 50 days in the tropics[264]. This species is not very hardy in Britain, it sometimes succeeds outdoors in hot summers but is really best grown in a greenhouse since it prefers daytime temperatures of 25°c or more[260]. Plants also dislike low night temperatures[133]. There are some early-maturing varieties that are more tolerant of cooler temperate conditions and these could be tried outdoors[200]. These include 'Clemson's Spineless', 'Emerald Spineless', 'Long Green' and 'Green Velvet'[200]. The flowers are much visited by bees but they may require syringing in order to improve fertilization when plants are grown in a greenhouse. Plants resent being transplanted[133].

Propagation

Seed - sow early spring in a warm greenhouse. The seed germinates in 27 days at 15°c or 6 days at 35°c[133]. When large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frosts[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

A-koto, Angu, Apala, Asowntem, Bakhua-mun, Bamia, Bandakka, Bendi, Bhindee, Bhindi, Binda, Bindi, Bondo, Cantarela, Derere rechipudzi, Derere, Dheras, Dherosh, Enmomi, Fetri, Gombaut, Gombo, Gumbo, Guro, Gusha, Hakuyot, Idelele, Ikhievbo, Ilasha, Ilo, Ka fei huang kui, Kacang bendi, Kaganh lender, Kandia, Kandjie, Kopi arab, Krachiap-mon, Kubewa, Lafeu, Lieka, Loka, Maana, Ma-lontho, Mesta, Muomi, Miagorro, Nathando, Nkruma, Obori, Ochro, Okworu, Okwulu, Otigo-iwoka, Pahari bendi, Pingpesi, Poot barang, Pui, Quiabo, Quimbambo, Saluyot a bunga, Sayur bendi, Taku, Uisul hme, Vandakai, Vandikkai, Vendal, Wayika, You-padi,

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Africa, Albania, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Asia, Australia, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Central Africa, Central African Republic, CAR, Central America, China, Congo DR, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, East Africa, East Timor, Egypt, Ethiopia, Europe, Fiji, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guam, Guyana, Haiti, Hawaii, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Laos, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Moldova, Mozambique, Nauru, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Africa, North America, Northeastern India, Pacific, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Sao Tome and Principe, SE Asia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Southern Africa, South America, South Sudan, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, USA, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Venezuela, West Africa, West Indies, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

This plant can be weedy or invasive.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants

 

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Expert comment

Author

(L.)Moench.

Botanical References

200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

jahara lou   Sun Jan 16 08:40:29 2005

uhm for me this plant is very useful because it has also many uses like other plants in the world. If i could have the authority to name this plant as one of the world future plants i would be honor to do that ok

Link: Jaharas website wala lang

Mandy   Fri Apr 14 2006

I'm an ethnobiology student and am currentyly working on an ethnography of okra. I need someone knowledgable on the subject to answer some anthropologuical questions for me so I can begin to write my paper. Are there any okra experts out there?

Raul   Mon Jul 9 2007

Does okra increses uric acid?

HONEY   Mon Jul 16 2007

Can someone help me out? i need to know about the different vegetative structures of okra... if you could badly answer my question...send me an email...thanks!

ZIRLANCE   Fri Feb 22 2008

HELLO THERE...AM ZIRLANCE,A FORESTRY STUDENT.I JUST WANNA GATHER SOME ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT OKRA,ITS EFFECTIVITY IN HEALING ULCERS,ITS LITERATURE ETC..ENYBODY CAN ANSWER THIS QUESTION..HOW COULD I APPLY OKRA IN HEALING ULCERS?ITS PROCEDURES AND METHOD?

paul   Tue Nov 4 2008

could anybody tell me if it is possible to grow abelmoschus esculentus (okra) all year round in morocco north africa if so how

celine   Thu Nov 27 2008

can okra help in lowering blood sugar level?

pradeep   Sat Feb 21 2009

www.google.com heterosis breeding in okra

prasanna   Thu Sep 17 2009

i want the antiobesity property& which part is useful.

www.google.com

alfred agyekum   Tue Oct 13 2009

nematode infection in Abelmoschus esculentus

Raffi   Fri Oct 23 2009

Gardenology.org - Garden wiki & Plant encyclopedia Cultivation, propagation info and photos

Daniel   Wed Nov 4 2009

do okra have antidiabetic properties? (already proven/in testing)

This great site   Mar 18 2010 12:00AM

This is a great plant
Plants For A Future

   Aug 25 2012 12:00AM

Easy to grow in the tropics and seems bug disease resistant.

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