Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Herbs, undershrubs or trees, often prickly hairy. Leaves palmilobed to-parted, often hastate or sagittate or with pennilobed to -parted segments, rarely entire, extra- floral nectaries absent. Flowers solitary, axillary or in terminal racemes by reduction of upper leaves; pedicels inarticulate. Epicalyx segments 4 - 16, usually free, rarely connate at base, persistent or caducous. Calyx spathaceous, lobed or toothed at tip, split to the base on one side, adnate and falling with corolla. Corolla large, mostly yellow with a dark purple centre, sometimes creamy white or pink. Staminal column included, antheriferous throughout. Ovary 5-locular, many-ovuled; style 1, distally 5-branched;stigmas discoid. Capsules ovoid to oblong or cylindric, beaked or mucronate, loculicidally dehiscent with longitudinal slits towards base. Seeds many in each locule, reniform.

Throughout tropical, subtropical and temperate regions of the old world, chiefly in southeast Asia, ca 15 species; 6 in India.


1a. Epicalyx segments 6 - 16, linear to lanecolate, caducous after dehiscence of the capsule 2
b. Epicalyx segments 4 - 6, ovate, caducous after dehiscence of the capsule, if linear to lanceolate, then caducous before anthesis 5
2a. Capsules not exceeding epicalyx; epicalyx segments 10 - 16, 2 - 5 cm long 2. Abelmoschus crinitus
b. Capsules exceeding epicalyx; epicalyx segments 6 - 10 (rarely 12), 1 - 1.5 cm long 3
3a. Capsules ovoid to oblong, up to 8 cm long 5. Abelmoschus moschatus
b. Capsules fusiform, up to 25 cm long 4
4a. Capsules sparsely hairy or glabrescent, 7 - 25 cm long; corolla 5 - 8 cm across 0. Abelmoschus esculentus
b. Capsules densely studded with bristle bearing tubercles, 1.5 - 5 cm long; corolla 1.5 - 2.5 cm across 6. Abelmoschus tuberculatus
5a. Epicalyx segments linear to lanceolate, caducous before expansion of the corolla; calyx in bud lageniform; capsules ovoid-oblong, shortly beaked with short stiff hairs 3. Abelmoschus ficulneus
b. Epicalyx segments ovate, caducous after dehiscence of the capsule; calyx in bud ovate; capsules ovoid-prismatical, hispid and usually prickly by long stiff hairs 6
6a. Epicalyx segments 1 - 2.5 x 0.5 - 1cm, free, segments shorter than capsule 4. Abelmoschus manihot
b. Epicalyx segments 2 - 3 x 1 - 2 cm, connate at base, segments as long as capsule or longer 1. Abelmoschus angulosus

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