Musk mallow (Abelmoschus moschatus) is an herbaceous trailing plant that grows to 2m in diameter with soft, hairy stems. It can grow up to 1.5m tall. Leaves are alternate, rough, hairy and heart-shaped. They have 3 to 5 lobes and can grow to 15cm long. Flowers resemble those of the hibiscus and are usually watermelon pink, although they are sometimes white or cream in colour. They last for only one day and their flowering depends on the timing of the wet season.Seeds are contained within hairy capsules up to 8cm long, which are tough but papery. A delicate musk-like odour is produced by the seed coat.
Musk okra's facts
Did you know?
It is cultivated for the musk-like oil contained in its seeds, which is valued for perfume manufacture.
Musk okra's Behavior & Ecology
Musk mallow (Abelmoschus moschatus) grows in a range of habitats, from marshy areas to forest edges. In Maldives, it is most often found in marshy areas.
Musk okra's Reproduction
Propagation can be from seeds, small tubers, or stem cuttings.
Musk okra's Relationship with Humans
Oil obtained from seeds possesses a musk-like odour that is used in the perfume industry. The roots, seeds and sometimes leaves, are used in traditional Indian medicines for a variety of illnesses, including intestinal complaints, constipation, dyspepsia and gonorrhea. Valued as an ornamental plant due to its colourful and attractive flowers.