Species Details

Details of Musk okra will be displayed below

Musk okra   

Common Name: Annual hibiscus, Musky-seeded hibiscus
Scientific Name: Abelmoschus moschatus
Local Name: kasthoori
Dhivehi Name: ކަސްތޫރި
Plantae  (Kingdom)
Tracheophyta  (Plylum)
Magnoliopsida  (Class)
Malvales  (Order)
Malvaceae  (Family)
Abelmoschus   (Genus)

Musk okra's description

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.

Musk okra habitat

Musk Mallow is an annual or biennial, erect shrub, growing to 1–2 m tall from a taproot (Widodo 2016, Rojas-Sandoval 2018). Flowering is prolific with flowers opening in the morning and lasting for just one day (Rojas-Sandoval 2018). The seeds are black-brown and have a musky odour (Wu et al. 2007). The species occurs in a wide variety of habitats including seasonal rainforests, woodlands, grasslands, scrublands on slopes, swamps and wetlands. It also grows in open and disturbed areas such as agricultural areas, roadsides, gardens and urban areas (Wu et al. 2007, Rojas-Sandoval 2018).

Musk okra threats

This species occurs over a very large range making it difficult to identify specific threats. Additionally, the species readily spreads to natural areas, and grows in disturbed sites (Rojas-Sandoval 2018). Some diseases and pests have been reported, most notably Hibiscus Mosaic Virus (Widodo 2016), but these are suspected to have an imperceptible effect on the population. It is not thought that there are any major threats in action that are likely to affect the conservation status of this species in a short time.

Musk okra's status