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Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus)

An annual that grows to 1.5 meters or more, okra produces a beautiful, cream-colored flower and edible, green or purple pods. The pods are high in folic acid, which helps produce healthy red blood cells and prevent anemia in children and adults.

Common Names
Okra, lady’s finger (En); gombo, gumbo (French); quingombó, guingombó (Spanish); 黃秋葵 (Chinese)

Plant Distribution
Southeast and South Asia, tropical Africa, Brazil

Edible Parts
Young fruit is often boiled as ingredient in soups and sauces, consumed blanched, sautéed, stir-fried, raw or pickled, or stuffed with other ingredients; young leaves sometimes eaten cooked.

Health Values
Beta-carotene: low in fruit and leaves; vitamin E: low in fruit; riboflavin: low in fruit, extremely high in leaves; folic acid: high in fruit; ascorbic acid: medium in fruit, extremely high in leaves; calcium: low in fruit, extremely high in leaves; iron: low in fruit and leaves; protein: 2.1% in fruit, 4.4% in leaves. Young fruit and leaves are rich in mucilage, and young fruit has high antioxidative activities.

Read more: Okra, in Discovering Indigenous Treasures: Promising Indigenous Vegetables from Around the World. 2009. AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center.