11. Abelmoschus Medikus, Malvenfam. 45. 1787.
[Presumably Arabic habb-el-misk, musk seed, alluding to scented seeds] [Presumably Arabic habb-el-misk, musk seed, alluding to scented seeds]
David M. Bates
Herbs, annual [perennial], [subshrubs], glabrate to densely hairy, often harshly so. Stems not hairy. x = 29, 30, 33, 34, 36.
Species 6+ (1 in the flora): introduced, Florida; s, se Asia, Africa, sw Pacific Islands, Australia; introduced nearly worldwide, often becoming naturalized, especially in tropical and subtropical regions.
Abelmoschus is a segregate of Hibiscus; it is unique in calyx characters among others. Conservative interpretations of Abelmoschus recognize six species; many others have been named.
In addition to Abelmoschus esculentus, A. manihot (Linnaeus) Medikus and A. moschatus Medikus are cultivated as ornamentals in North America and may occasionally escape. The leaves of Abelmoschus are edible; the seeds of A. moschatus have a musk odor and yield ambrette, an oil used in perfumery.
SELECTED REFERENCE Bates, D. M. 1968. Notes on cultivated Malvaceae. 2. Abelmoschus. Baileya 16: 99–112.