name = "Abelmoschus"
image_caption = "Abelmoschus esculentus" leaves, flower buds and young fruit
genus = "Abelmoschus"
genus_authority = Medik.
subdivision_ranks = Species
subdivision = See text.|
"Abelmoschus" is a genus of about fifteen species of
flowering plants in the mallow family Malvaceae, native to tropical Africa, Asiaand northern Australia. It was formerly included within " Hibiscus", but is now classified as a distinct genus.
The genus comprises annual and perennial
herbaceousplants, growing to 2 m tall. The leaves are 10-40 cm long and broad, palmately lobed with 3-7 lobes, the lobes very variable in depth, from barely lobed, to cut almost to the base of the leaf. The flowers are 4-8 cm diameter, with five white to yellow petals, often with a red or purple spot at the base of each petal. The fruitis a capsule, 5-20 cm long, containing numerous seeds.
"Abelmoschus" species are used as food plants by the
larvae of some Lepidopteraspecies including "Chionodes hibiscella" which has been recorded on "A. moschatus".
Abelmoschus caillei" - (syn. "Hibsicus manihot" var. "caillei"). West African okra
Abelmoschus esculentus" - (syn. "Hibiscus esculentus"). Okra
Abelmoschus manihot" - (syn. "Hibiscus manihot"). Aibika
Abelmoschus moschatus" - (syn. "Hibiscus abelmoschus"). Musk Mallow
Several species are edible, with both the young seed pods and the young leaves being eaten as a
vegetable. The most important commercially-grown species is Okra.
"Abelmoschus manihot" (aibika) furnishes cordage like
jute, and "Abelmoschus moschatus" (musk mallow) is grown for musk seeds (musk ambrette, which causes photoallergy).
*Kundu BC, Biswas C. 1973. Anatomical characters for distinguishing the genera "Abelmoschus" and "Hibiscus". "Proc. Indian Sci. Congr." 60. (3): 295
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