5. Corchorus Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 529. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 234. 1754.
Jute [Greek kore, eye pupil, and koreo, to purge or clear, alluding to use of leaves] Jute [Greek kore, eye pupil, and koreo, to purge or clear, alluding to use of leaves]
Guy L. Nesom
Herbs, annual or perennial, [subshrubs], or shrubs, taprooted. Stems erect to ascending or decumbent, usually unbranched or relatively few-branched, hairy, hairs simple or stellate. Leaves petiolate; stipules caducous to subpersistent, filiform; blade unlobed, oblong to ovate obovate, apically awned or not, glabrous or hairy; petals [4 or]5, yellow, obovate to oblanceolate, glands absent; stamens [4–]10–70[–100], on androgynophore; ovary 2–4[–10]-locular; ovules 2–50 per locule; styles 1, simple, short-cylindric; stigmas peltate or discoid, usually irregularly crenulate or lobulate. Capsules usually cylindric to short-ellipsoid, rarely subglobose, 2–4[–10]-valved, glabrous or hairy, dehiscence loculicidal. Seeds 4–10[–30] per locule, angular, smooth or pitted. x = 7.
Species 90–100 (5 in the flora): United States, Mexico, West Indies, Central America, South America, se Asia, Africa, Pacific Islands, Australia.
Corchorus capsularis Linnaeus and C. olitorius Linnaeus have been domesticated for production of bast fibers and are the commercially important cultivated species. Corchorus aestuans Linnaeus also is used and cultivated for fiber production, although the fibers are weaker than those of the others. Fibers of other species (for example, C. tridens Linnaeus) also are used locally. Corchorus leaves (C. capsularis in China and Japan; C. olitorius in southern Asia, the Middle East, and northern Africa) are commonly eaten as leafy vegetables and in stews. Within C. olitorius, the fiber types and the vegetable types comprise two separate cultivar groups, the former with a little-branched habit.
Generic boundaries among the species of Corchorus probably will be modified. The monospecific Oceanopapaver Guillaumin is part of a clade with the endemic Malagasy genus Pseudocorchorus Capuron and species of Corchorus with stellate vestiture (C. Tirel et al. 1996; B. A. Whitlock et al. 2003).