Abelmoschus

Medikus

Malvenfam., 45. 1787

Introduced
Etymology: Presumably Arabic habb-el-misk, musk seed, alluding to scented seeds
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 6. Treatment on page 219. Mentioned on page 187, 216, 218, 220.
Herbs, annual [perennial], [subshrubs], glabrate to densely hairy, often harshly so. Stems not hairy. x = 29, 30, 33, 34, 36.

Distribution

Fla., s, se Asia, Africa, sw Pacific Islands, Australia, introduced nearly worldwide, often becoming naturalized, especially in tropical and subtropical regions.

Discussion

Species 6+ (1 in the flora).

Abelmoschus is a segregate of Hibiscus; it is unique in calyx characters among others. Conservative interpretations of Abelmoschus recognize six species; many others have been named.

In addition to Abelmoschus esculentus, A. manihot (Linnaeus) Medikus and A. moschatus Medikus are cultivated as ornamentals in North America and may occasionally escape. The leaves of Abelmoschus are edible; the seeds of A. moschatus have a musk odor and yield ambrette, an oil used in perfumery.

Lower Taxa