Heirloom & Perennial Ltd

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Abelmoschus esculentus, OKRA - Clemson spineless


'Clemson's Spineless' is an early maturing variety, smooth pods without spines.

Strong plants, prolific with bright green pods. Popular item for soups and stews.

Okra is commonly cultivated in warm temperate and tropical areas for its edible seedpod. Most cultivars require about 4 months from sowing before a crop is produced. This species is not very hardy in Britain, it sometimes succeeds outdoors in hot summers but is really best grown in a greenhouse since it prefers daytime temperatures of 25°c or more. Plants also dislike low night temperatures.

The flowers are much visited by bees but they may require syringing in order to improve fertilization when plants are grown in a greenhouse. Plants resent being transplanted.

Prefers a well-drained humus rich fertile soil in full sun and a pH around 6 to 6.7 but it tolerates a wide range of soil types and pH from 5.5 to 8. It prefers a soil with a high potash content. The plant requires a warm sunny position sheltered from winds. It likes plenty of moisture, both in the soil and in the atmosphere.

A fibre obtained from the stems is used as a substitute for jute. It is also used in making paper and textiles. The fibres are about 2.4mm long. When used for paper the stems are harvested in late summer or autumn after the edible seedpods have been harvested, the leaves are removed and the stems are steamed until the fibres can be stripped off. The fibres are cooked for 2 hours with lye and then put in a ball mill for 3 hours. The paper is cream coloured. A decoction of the root or of the seeds is used as a size for paper.

Edible uses

Seed - Roasted, Ground as a Coffee substitute, Cooked, Ground as a Flour

Fruit - Cooked, Dried as a Thickener, Raw as a Fruit

Leaves - Dried as a Flavouring, Cooked, Boiled, Steamed as a Vegetable

Root - Cooked as a Thickener

Flower buds, Flowers, Calyces - Cooked, Boiled, Steamed as a Vegetable

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