Botanical Name of Lady Finger

BiologyBotanical Name

Introduction: Lady Finger

Lady Finger is a flowering plant. It has the botanical name Abelmoschus esculentus, and it is the plant of the mallow family. It is also known as okra or ochro. The exact origin of the lady finger or okra is disputed. It could have originated from either West Africa or Ethiopia or Southeast Asia. It is a part of many cuisines around the world such as India, Brazil, Southern USA, and the Middle East, etc.

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Lady finger is an allopolyploid of uncertain parentage. Abelmoschus ficulneus, A. tuberculatus are some of its proposed parentages. The West African variety has been described as a cultigen as the exact wild populations of it are not known yet. India is the largest producer of okra in the world, followed by Nigeria, Sudan, Mali, and Pakistan, etc.

Classification of Lady finger

  • Botanical name− Abelmoschus esculentus

  • Kingdom− Plantae

  • Family − Malvaceae

  • Division − Magnoliophyta

  • Order −Malvales

  • Genus −Abelmoschus

  • Species − Esculentus

Description of Lady Finger

The lady finger plants have variable lengths which can range from 0.5–4.0 m. Their leaves can have sizes ranging between 10–20 cm. The leaves are palmately lobed with 5–7 lobes. These plants are related to other species of the Malvaceae family such as cocoa, cotton, and hibiscus, etc. The lady finger plants are characterized by intermediate growth. They have stems that are robust, erect, and are variable in branching.

The lady finger flowers are whitish-yellow coloured; they can have red or purple spots at the base of each petal. Flowering is a continuous process, but it is highly dependent on biotic and abiotic stress. These flowers can have a diameter of 4–8 cm. They have spherical pollen with an approximate diameter of 188 microns. The lady finger pods can grow up to 18 cm; have a pentagonal cross-section and contain many seeds. The lady finger fruits or pods contain round-white seeds.

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Cultivation

Lady finger is one of the most heat and drought-resistant crops in the world.

Soil Condition

Lady finger crop can be grown in different types of soils.

  • The ideal types of soils range from sandy loam to clay loamy with a good percentage of organic matter and good drainage facility.

  • Heavy soils with proper drainage can also be used for its cultivation.

  • Only alkaline, saline soil with poor drainage should be avoided for growing this crop.

  • The soil with pH ranging from 5.8–7 is considered ideal for cultivation.

  • Depending upon the variety and soil conditions, lady finger plants can continue to flower and fruit for a very long time.

Seeds

Okra is an annual plant and is propagated by seeds.

  • Before sowing, the seeds are first soaked overnight. These are then planted the next-day to a depth of 1–2 cm.

  • For germination, the soil temperature should be at least 20 °C.

  • Germination takes place approximately between 1–3 weeks after the seeds are sown

  • Water or irrigation is very important for seedlings.

Climate Condition

  • It is cultivated in many warm temperature regions with weather ranging from tropical to subtropical.

  • The lady finger crop can also not survive frost.

  • The lady finger crop requires plenty of sunlight for best yield.

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Pollination and Fertilization

The approximate crop duration is 90–100 days. The flowering of plants usually starts 1–2 months after sowing. It is a self-pollinating crop and does not require insects for pollination and fertilization. The insects and bees are only useful for cross-pollination. The lady finger pods must be harvested approximately within a week after pollination when they are still immature in order for them to be edible. They become woody and fibrous with time. Regular harvesting in fact, helps in simulating continuous fruiting. Weed suppression helps in better growth of plants and yield.

The use of fertilization is also recommended depending on soil conditions. Verticillium wilt is the most common disease which affects lady finger crops. It causes the yellowing and wilting of leaves. Other diseases such as powdery mildew, leaf spots and yellow mosaics also cause problems.

Lady finger plants fall into the category of explosive spreaders. On maturity, the pods explode on their own and the seeds spread several feet away from the host plant. The seeds can spread for almost 2–3 cm upon shattering

Nutritional Content

Lady finger helps in fighting malnutrition, especially in developing countries. It is a widely consumed vegetable and is very healthy. It has a high amount of fibre and has a laxative effect; thus, it is helpful in improving digestion and curing constipation. It is also considered helpful in managing cholesterol and heart health.

The nutritional contents of 100 grams of edible portion of lady finger are given in the table below −

Calories 35.0
Water 89.6 g
Carbohydrates 6.4 g
Protein 1.9 g
Fibre 1.2 g
Minerals 0.7 g
Fat 0.2 g
Potassium 103 mg
Calcium 66 mg
Phosphorous 56 mg
Magnesium 53 mg
Vitamin C 13.10 mg

Table: Nutrition Contents of Lady Finger

Food and Uses

Lady finger pods can be consumed raw and can be included in salads.

  • It can also be sautéed or pickled.

  • The pods contain a large amount of mucilage which gives it a slimy characteristic. It is widely used as a thickener for soups and broths.

  • To de-slime, the lady finger pods are cooked with acidic ingredients such as tomato or lemons. It is a very common ingredient in gumbos eaten in the southern U.S.

  • Fresh lady finger leaves are also used in salads. These leaves can also be prepared similar to the beet greens.

  • In many countries, the okra seeds are roasted to make a caffeine-free coffee substitute.

  • Edible okra oil is also extracted from the okra seeds. This oil is greenish-yellow in colour and it has a pleasant taste and smell.

  • In many cultures, lady finger leaves and immature-pods are used as poultices to relieve pain.

  • The stems of lady finger plants provide bast fibre, which is used as the reinforcement of polymer composites. The mucilage produced by the okra plant has flocculant properties; due to which it can be used to remove turbidity from wastewater.

  • Nowadays, multiple studies are going on for creating biodegradable food packaging using lady finger mucilage.

Conclusion

Lady fingers are a rich source of vitamins, calcium, potassium, and other minerals. The lady finger is a self-sustaining crop and does not require much care and irrigation. It is a tropical and subtropical crop. It usually grows in warm weather, though some varieties of lady finger can be grown in winters. It is cultivated for its green coloured non-fibrous fruits.

FAQs

Q1. What is the botanical name of lady finger?

a) Lagenaria siceraria

b) Abelmoschus esculentus

c) Solanum melongena

d) Phaseolus vulgaris

Ans: b

Q2. Lady finger belongs to which of the following botanical family?

a) Malvaceae

b) Legumes

c) Cucurbitaceae

d) Nightshade

Ans: a

Q3. Which of the following is the ideal depth at which the lady finger seeds should be sown?

a) 1 – 2 cm

b) 3 – 4 cm

c) 4 – 5 cm

d) 6 – 7 cm

Ans: a

Q4. Wat is the amount of carbohydrates present in 100 grams of edible lady finger?

a) 1.9 g

b) 2.8 g

c) 4.3 g

d) 6.4 g

Ans: d

Q5. After how many days of sowing the seeds, does the germination take place?

a) 3 – 6 days

b) 3 – 9 days

c) 5 – 15 days

d) 7 – 21 days

Ans: d

raja
Updated on 13-Oct-2022 11:19:47

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