1. Abelmoschus esculentus (Linnaeus) Moench, Methodus. 617. 1794.
[F I W]
Okra, gumbo, lady’s finger Okra, gumbo, lady’s finger
Hibiscus esculentus Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 696. 1753
Plants 1–2 m. Stems often red blotched, coarse. Leaf blades scarcely lobed to palmately divided, 10–25 cm, ± broader than long. Pedicels not articulated, stout; involucellar bractlets linear, to 2.5 cm. Flowers: corolla to 8 cm diam.; staminal column anther-bearing from near base, apex 5-toothed. Capsules cylindric, slightly 5-angled, beaked, 8–30 cm. 2n = 72, 108, 118, 120, 122, 130, 132, 144.
Flowering spring–fall. Fertile, well-drained soil with ample moisture, waste places; 0–30 m; introduced; Fla., Ga., La., Miss., N.C., S.C., Va.; s Asia; Africa; sw Pacific Islands; introduced also in Mexico and elsewhere nearly worldwide.
Abelmoschus esculentus is a cultigen, apparently domesticated in India for the edible, unripe, succulent, mucilaginous young capsule and edible leaves; it may escape from commercial and garden cultivation and sometimes persist in waste places.