Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

okra Hibiscus esculentus (formerly Abelmoschus esculentus), an annual plant of tropical and subtropical regions which bears pods which are eaten as a vegetable. It is the only member of the mallow family, Malvaceae, to be used in this way. The pods, which are typically ridged and tapering, but may be almost round, contain many small seeds and a gummy substance which gives okra its special character. The general appearance of the pods has resulted in their having the name ‘ladies’ fingers’.