Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench

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Abelmoschus esculentus

Photo: Bart Wursten
Borrowdale Common, nr cnr Lanner Ave/Teviotdale Ave

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Synonyms: Hibiscus esculentus L.
Common names: Derere (Shona) Derere rechipudzi (Shona) Idelele (Ndebele) Lady's fingers (English) Okra (English)
Description: Annual herb, up to 2 m, widely cultivated for its edible fruit. Leaves up to 25 cm, almost round in outline, deeply, palmately lobed, more or less densely hairy on both surfaces, particularly on the veins; margin serrate. Flowers in terminal clusters or solitary in the leaf axils, up to 8 cm in diameter, yellow with a purple centre. Epicalyx with 10-12 bracts, narrowly linear triangular, up to 25 mm. Fruit a capsule, more or less narrowly ellipsoid, up to 14 cm.
Notes: The fruits are edible and cooked as a vegetable. When not harvested, the fruits dry out and become woody, splitting lengthwise along the 6-8 ridges, exposing the seeds (see photo).
Derivation of specific name: esculentus: edible
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Native of Tropical Asia, now widely cultivated throughout the tropics.
Growth form(s): Annual.
Insects associated with this species:
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Image last updated: Sunday 21 January 2007

Exell, A.W. (1961). Malvaceae Flora Zambesiaca 1(2) Pages 423 - 426. (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 60.

Other sources of information about Abelmoschus esculentus:

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Flora of Mozambique: Abelmoschus esculentus
Flora of Zambia: Abelmoschus esculentus
Flora of Zimbabwe: Abelmoschus esculentus

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Abelmoschus esculentus
African Plant Database: Abelmoschus esculentus
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Abelmoschus esculentus
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Abelmoschus esculentus
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Abelmoschus esculentus
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Abelmoschus esculentus
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Abelmoschus esculentus
JSTOR Plant Science: Abelmoschus esculentus
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Abelmoschus esculentus
Plants of the World Online: Abelmoschus esculentus
Tropicos: Abelmoschus esculentus
Wikipedia: Abelmoschus esculentus

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Zimbabwe: Cultivated Plants: Species information: Abelmoschus esculentus.
https://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/cult/species.php?species_id=139690, retrieved 5 March 2024

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