Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Abelmoschus manihot (L.) Medikus, Malv. 46.1787, ampl. Hochr. in Candollea 2: 87. 1924. Hibiscus manihot L., Sp. Pl.696. 1753; Masters in Fl. Brit. India 1: 341. 1874.

Herbs or undershrubs; stems terete, stout, fistular, glabrous or densely hispid. Leaves extremely variable in size and shape, 5 - 30 cm across, usually orbicular to broadly ovate, cordate and 5 - 9-nerved at base, usually 3 - 9-lobed or -parted, rarely unlobed, segments variously shaped, acute to acuminate at apex, dentate or serrate, sometimes entire, glabrous or tomentose on both surfaces or only on lower surface; petioles 2.5 - 23 cm long, glabrous or hispid; stipules 5 - 25 x 1 - 5 mm, linear to filiform or lanceolate, acute to acuminate, stellate-hairy. Flowers axillary, solitary or in terminal racemes by reduction of leaves; pedicels 1 - 4 cm long, accrescent up to 6.5 cm long. Epicalyx segments 4 - 6, rarely free, 1 - 2.5 x 05 - 1 cm, ovate to oblong, acute to acuminate, stiff hairy on both surfaces. Calyx 2 - 3 x 0.5 - 2 cm, velutinous outside, sericeous inside. Corolla white or yellow with a purple centre; petals 3.5 - 8 x 2.5 - 6 cm, obovate to orbicular, fleshy at base, glabrous. Ovary ovoid, hirsute; styles hairy. Capsules 3 - 7 x 1.5 - 2.5 cm, ovoid-oblong, 5-angular, acuminate with 5 prominent costa. Seeds 3 - 4 mm with stellate hairs in concentric rings, dark brown or blackish.

Notes. Hochreutiner (Ann. Cons. Jard. Bot. Geneve 4: 153. 1900) recognised 4 varieties under this species viz. genuinus, timorensis, tetraphyllus and pungens based on leaf characters. while Borssum Waalkes (l.c.) recognised 2 subspecies viz manihot and tetraphyllus. He included cultivated forms under the former and the wild ones under the latter. Under the subsp. tetraphyllus 2 varieties viz., tetraphyllus and pungens were recognised based on indumentum of epicalyx. Further, according to Borssum Waalkes (l.c.) both these varieties show distribution preference to altitude that is var. tetraphyllus prefers areas between sea level and 400 m. and var. pungens between 400 and 1600 m. In India although they are distinct, do not show any distinct altitudinal preferences as var. tetraphylla is recorded from sealevel to 800 m and var. pungens up to 1800 m.


1a. Stems without prickly hairs 4.1. manihot
b. Stems more or less densely covered with prickly hairs 4.2. tetraphyllus

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