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Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench


Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench




Hibiscus esculentus L.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Kacang bendi, sayur bendi, kacang lender.
English Okra, lady's finger.
Indonesia Okra, kopi arab.
Philippines Okra, saluyot a bunga (Ilocano), haluyot (Ifugao).
Burma You-padi.
Cambodia Pôôt barang.
Laos Khüa ngwàng.
Thailand Krachiap-khieo (Central), krachiap-mon(Central), bakhua-mun (Northern).
Vietnam d[aaj]u b[aws]p, b[uj] b[aws]p, m[uw][ows]p t[aa]y.
French Gombo.

Geographical Distributions

The genus Abelmoschus Medikus originated in Southeast Asia. A. esculentus, however, is a cultigen of uncertain origin. It is now widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions, but is particularly popular in India, West Africa and Brazil. Okra is common in the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, but of little importance in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.


Abelmoschus esculentus is a stout, erect and annual herb that can grow up to measure 4 m tall.

The leaves are arranged spirally, leaf-blade up to measure 50 cm in diametre and more or less deeply with 3-, 5- or 7-lobed. The petiole is up to measure 50 cm long, slender stipules that are up to measure 20 mm long and often split to the base.

The flowers are solitary in the leaf axils or in pseudoracemes by reduction of the upper leaves. They are yellow and self-fertile. The pedicel is up to measure 3 cm long in flower and up to measure 7 cm long in fruit. The 7-15 epicalyx segments are free, linear segments and with a size of measuring 5-25 mm x 0.5-3 mm. The measure of 2-6 cm long sepal is spathaceous, splitting on one side during the expansion of the petal and adnate to and fall with the petal. The corolla is with 5 obovate petals where each is measure about 3-7 cm long and wide and yellow with a dark purple in colour  at the centre.

The fruit is a cylindrical to pyramidal capsule, measure 5-35 cm long, 1-5 cm in diametre, completely, partially or not loculicidal, green, greenish-purple or completely purple when young and brownish when mature.

The seeds are numerous, spherical in shape, measuring about 3-6 mm in diametre and blackish in colour.

Germination is an epigeal.

Ecology / Cultivation

A. esculentus needs temperatures above 20°C for normal growth and development. Germination percentage and speed of emergence are optimal at 30-35°C. Flower initiation and flowering are delayed at higher temperatures (positive correlation between temperature and number of vegetative nodes). A. esculentus is a short-day plant, but its wide geographical distribution (up to latitudes of 35-40°) indicates that cultivars differ markedly in sensitivity. Flower initiation and flowering are hardly affected by daylength in popular subtropical cultivars such as 'Clemson Spineless' and 'Pusa Sawani'. Most tropical cultivars show quantitative short-day responses, but qualitative responses also occur. The shortest reported critical daylength is 12 hours 30 minutes.

Line Drawing / Photograph


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    1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 8: Vegetables.

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