okra

Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench) known in
many English-speaking countries as lady’s fingers,
bhindi in India, krajiab kheaw in Thailand, okra plant,
ochro, okoro, quimgombo, quingumbo, gombo, kopi
arab, kacang bendi and bhindi in South East Asia.
However, in Middle East it is known asbamia, bamya
or bamieh and gumbo in Southern [1]. Portuguese
and Angola, okra is known as quiabo, and as
quimbombo in Cuba, gombo commun, gombo,
gumbo in France, mbamia and mbinda in Sweden,
and in Japan as okura [2], [3]. Taiwan is called qiu kui
[4] Nigeria spoken in Igbo [5]. It belongs to family
malvaceae and genus Abelmoschus .The geographical
origin of okra is disputed, with supporters of South

Asian, Ethiopian and West African origins. The plant is
cultivated in tropical, subtropical and warm
temperate regions around the world [6]. Okra can be
grown on wide range of soils, but well drained fertile
soils with adequate organic matter result to high yield
[7]. The crop is widely cultivated throughout the year
in the tropics. Okra is a nutritious vegetable which
plays important role to meet the demand of
vegetable are scanty in the market [8]. In 2009-2010,
the total world area under cultivation was 0.43
million hectares and the production stood at 4.54
million tons and India production of okra 5784
thousand tones and productivity 11.1 tones/hectare
[9]. The yield is very low as compared to the yield 9.7-
10 tones ha-1 of other developing countries of the

world [10]. India being largest producer (67.1%),
followed by Nigeria (15.4%) and Sudan (9.3 %) [11].

world [10]. India being largest producer (67.1%),
followed by Nigeria (15.4%) and Sudan (9.3 %) [11].

GEOGRAPHIC ORIGIN AND DISTRIBUTION OF
OKRA
Okra plant or lady’ finger was previously included in
the genus Hibiscus, section Abelmoschus in the family
Malvaceae[12]. The section Abelmoschus was
subsequently proposed to be raised to the rank of
distinct genus [13]. The wider use of Abelmoschus
was subsequently accepted in the taxonomic and
contemporary literature [14]. The genus Hibiscus by
the characteristics of the calyx, spathulate, with five
short teeth, connate to the corolla and caducous after
flowering [15, 16]. Okra originated somewhere
around the Ethiopia, and was cultivated by the
ancient Egyptians by the 12th century B.C. Its
cultivation spread throughout Middle East and North
Africa [3, 17]. The taxonomical revision undertaken by
Borssum and co-workers [18] and its continuation by
Bates [19] constitutes the most fully documented
studies of the genus Abelmoschus. Taking
classification of van Borssum Waalkes as the starting
point, an up-to-date classification was adopted at the
International Okra Workshop held at National Bureau
of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) in 1990. Although
about 50 species have been described, eight are most
widely accepted [20]. Okra is grown in many parts of
the world, especially in tropical and sub-tropical
countries [21, 22]. This crop can be grown on a large
commercial farm or as a garden crop [23]. Okra plants
are grown commercially in many countries such as
India, Japan, Turkey, Iran, Western Africa, Yugoslavia,
Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Myanmar,
Malaysia, Thailand, India, Brazil, Ethiopia, Cyprus and
in the Southern United States [24, 25, 26].

STRUCTURE AND PHYSIOLOGY
Abelmoschus esculentus is cultivated throughout the
tropical and warm temperate regions of the world for
its fibrous fruits or pods containing round, white
seeds. It is among the most heat and drought tolerant
vegetable species in the world and will tolerate soils
with heavy clay and intermittent moisture but frost

can damage the pods. In cultivation, the seeds are
soaked overnight prior to planting to a depth of 1-
2 cm. Germination occurs between six days (soaked
seeds) and three weeks. Seedlings require ample
water. The seed pods rapidly become fibrous and
woody, and to be edible, must be harvested within a
week of the fruit having been pollinated. The fruits
are harvested when immature and eaten as a
vegetable.