The hairs on the seed pods can be an irritant to some people and gloves should be worn when harvesting. These hairs can be easily removed by washing.
Cooked as a Thickener
Flower buds, Flowers, Calyces
A fibre obtained from the stems is used as a substitute for jute. It is also used in making paper and textiles. The fibres are about 2.4mm long. When used for paper the stems are harvested in late summer or autumn after the edible seedpods have been harvested, the leaves are removed and the stems are steamed until the fibres can be stripped off. The fibres are cooked for 2 hours with lye and then put in a ball mill for 3 hours. The paper is cream coloured. A decoction of the root or of the seeds is used as a size for paper.
The roots are very rich in mucilage, having a strongly demulcent action. They are said by some to be better than marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis). This mucilage can be used as a plasma replacement. An infusion of the roots is used in the treatment of syphilis. The juice of the roots is used externally in Nepal to treat cuts, wounds and boils. The leaves furnish an emollient poultice. A decoction of the immature capsules is demulcent, diuretic and emollient. It is used in the treatment of catarrhal infections, ardor urinae, dysuria and gonorrhoea. The seeds are antispasmodic, cordial and stimulant. An infusion of the roasted seeds has sudorific properties.
Seed - sow early spring in a warm greenhouse. The seed germinates in 27 days at 15°c or 6 days at 35°c. When large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frosts.
Prefers a well-drained humus rich fertile soil in full sun and a pH around 6 to 6.7 but it tolerates a wide range of soil types and pH from 5.5 to 8. It prefers a soil with a high potash content. The plant requires a warm sunny position sheltered from winds. It likes plenty of moisture, both in the soil and in the atmosphere. Okra is commonly cultivated in warm temperate and tropical areas for its edible seedpod, there are many named varieties. Most cultivars require about 4 months from sowing before a crop is produced, though some early maturing varieties can produce a crop in 50 days in the tropics. This species is not very hardy in Britain, it sometimes succeeds outdoors in hot summers but is really best grown in a greenhouse since it prefers daytime temperatures of 25°c or more. Plants also dislike low night temperatures. There are some early-maturing varieties that are more tolerant of cooler temperate conditions and these could be tried outdoors. These include 'Clemson's Spineless', 'Emerald Spineless', 'Long Green' and 'Green Velvet'. The flowers are much visited by bees but they may require syringing in order to improve fertilization when plants are grown in a greenhouse. Plants resent being transplanted.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
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Polycultures & Guilds
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This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
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