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Edible uses


Young leaves and shoots - cooked in soups[1][2]. Used as a vegetable[3]. The leaves are also used to clarify sugar[1].

Unripe seedpods - cooked as a vegetable in much the same way as okra (A. esculentus)[1][3][2]. Seed - cooked[2]. It is fried or roasted and has a flavour similar to sesame seeds[2]. The seed is also used as a flavouring for liqueurs or to scent coffee[1][3]. An essential oil is obtained from the plant and is used to flavour baked goods, ice cream, sweets and soft drinks[1].

Root[1]. No more details are given, though the root is likely to have a bland flavour and a fibrous texture.

Unknown part



Material uses

An essential oil is obtained from the plant[3]. It is used as a food flavouring and in perfumery as a musk substitute[3]. However, it has been known to cause photosensitivity so this use has been largely discontinued[3].

An oil obtained from the seed contains 18.9% linoleic acid[4]. The oil is f high econmic value[5]. Total yields of oil are not given[K]. The seeds are used as an insecticide[6][3]. Another report says that extracts of the fruits and upper parts of the plant show insecticidal activity[4]. A fibre is obtained from the stem bark[3]. It is used to make ropes[2].

A mucilage obtained from the roots is used as a size for paper[3].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

An emulsion made from the seed is antispasmodic and is especially effective in the digestive system[6][3]. The seeds are also chewed as a nervine, stomachic and to sweeten the breath[6][3]. They are also said to be aphrodisiac[6][3].

The seeds are valued medicinally for their diuretic, demulcent and stomachic properties. They are also said to be stimulant, antiseptic, cooling, tonic, carminative and aphrodisiac. A paste of the bark is applied to cuts, wounds and sprains[2].

The essential oil is used in aromatherapy for the treatment of depression and anxiety[3]. It is also applied externally to treat cramp, poor circulation and aching joints[3].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - sow April in a greenhouse. The seed germinates best at a temperature around 24 - 24°c[3]. When large enough to handle, prick out the seedlings into individual pots of rich soil and plant them out after the last expected frosts[K]. The seed can also be sown in situ in late April in areas with warm summers. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July in a frame[3].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Abelmoschus moschatus. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Easily grown in a rich well-drained soil in a sunny position[3]. Tolerates a pH in the range 6 to 7.8.

This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to about -5°c and can be grown outdoors in the milder areas of the country[3]. The plant grows as a shrub in frost-free climates but is usually cut back to the ground in British winters. So long as these winters are not too cold, however, it can usually be grown as a herbaceous perennial with new shoots being produced freely from the root-stock. These flower in the summer[3]. It is probably wise to apply a good mulch to the roots in the autumn[K]. It is best to cut back the stems to about 15cm long in the spring even if they have not been killed back by the frost[3]. This will ensure an abundance of new growth and plenty of flowers in the summer. The musk mallow is widely cultivated in tropical climates for its many uses[3].

There is at least one named form, selected for its ornamental value. 'Mischief' is somewhat smaller than the species, reaching a height of 50cm[3].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Abelmoschus moschatus. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Abelmoschus moschatus.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Abelmoschus moschatus
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    2 x 1 meters
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    2. ? Manandhar. N. P. Plants and People of Nepal Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-527-6 (2002-00-00)
    3. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    4. ? Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (1986-00-00)
    5. ? [Flora of China] (1994-00-00)
    6. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)