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Abelmoschus esculentus, commonly known as okra, is a flowering plant that is native to Africa. It is a large, fast-growing shrub, growing 5-10 ft tall and producing beautiful white, off-white, and yellow-orange flowers. This plant runs on a shorter lifecycle than most other shrubs, taking only 120-165 days to mature.
Okra does best when grown in warm climates, where it can receive strong direct sunlight, and regular watering. It has adapted over time to thrive in USDA hardiness zones 9-11. As it is a climacteric crop, it benefits greatly from warm, humid days and cool nights.
Regular water needs will depend on the local climate, but okra requires moderate regular watering, even during seasonal to periodical droughts. Soil with a high drainage level and well-aerated conditions will help the plant thrive and reach its full potential.
The plant produces striking large edible seeds within green, finger-like pods. Young, tender okra can be used in stir-fry or soups either blanched or pickled, and raw okra is often used in cold salads. When cooked, it is similar to asparagus. In terms of taste, some describe it to be similar to a combination of mushrooms and eggplant.
Okra is packed with nutrients, including vitamin C, calcium, and potassium. It also contains a healthy amount of dietary fibers, which can help maintain healthy digestion. Health benefits of okra also includes its ability to strengthen the immune system, lower stress, and improve skin and hair health.
In terms of yield, the plant can produce up to few hundred pods per plant, depending on the variety and local climate conditions. Therefore, okra is a great choice whether you are looking to have some fresh fruits in your household.
Its palmate leaves are highly dissected with five to nine deep lobes. The largest, widest leaves form at the base of the plant, where there may be some small side branches. The blooms (4-5" in diameter) are pale yellow with a dark maroon to purple center eye, and emerge from the terminal end of a central flowering stalk.It is easily propagated from cuttings, easy to cultivate, relatively disease-resistant and even is considered to be of medicinal value. It is widely planted either along borders of gardens or as an intercrop throughout many traditional gardens in the tropics. A nice flowering addition to the vegetable garden.
Valued as an ornamental plant, due to its colorful and attractive flowers. The leaves are alternate, rough, hairy, heart-shaped or 3-5 lobed with serrated margins. Flowers are Hibiscus-like.
Cultivated for aromatic oil from seeds. Young leaves, shoots, and unripe seedpods are cooked as a vegetable.
Mostly used as an indoor houseplant, the flowering maple is a good alternative for those in climates that aren't suitable for maples to grow naturally. The trunk is somewhat woody, with two to three inch leaves which are quite similar to maple leaves. So far, rarely used as bonsai, but they are readily available and have 2 inch bell-shaped flowers which bloom year-round to recommend them. Shape is usually maintained through pruning, however wiring should work as long as care was taken to protect the branches. These plants do fine in ordinary potting soil.
Abutilon indicum var. hirtum (Abutilon hirtum) is harvested from the wild for local use as a source of fibre, medicines and food.