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Abelmoschus moschatus

Description from Flora of China

Hibiscus abelmoschus Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 696. 1753; Abelmoschus moschatus var. betulifolius (Masters) Hochreutiner; H. abelmoschus var. betulifolius Masters; H. chinensis Roxburgh ex Masters.

Herbs annual or perennial, (0.25-)1-2 m tall, most parts uniformly yellow hispid/setose, rarely glabrous or also pale pubescent, taproot tapered, not swollen. Stipules filiform, 7-8 mm; petiole 7-15 cm, sometimes densely pubescent along adaxial groove; leaf blade 6-15 cm in diam., very variable in form, usually palmately (3-)5-7-lobed, lobes lanceolate to triangular; blades on distal part of stem narrower, both surfaces sparsely hirsute, base cordate, margin irregularly serrate. Flowers solitary, axillary. Pedicel 2-3 cm, hirsute. Epicalyx lobes 6-10, linear to narrowly oblong, (8-)10-13 × 1.5-2 mm, incurved, appressed to capsule. Calyx spatulate, much longer than epicalyx, 2-3 cm, 5-parted, usually caducous, uniformly densely pubescent. Corolla 7-12 cm in diam., yellow with dark purple center; petals obovate. Staminal column ca. 2.5 cm, glabrous. Ovary hairy; style hairy, branches 5; stigma disk-shaped. Capsule oblong, 5-6 cm, apex acute, uniformly yellow hirsute. Seeds black-brown, reniform, concentrically ribbed, glandular-reticulate, with musk smell. Fl. Jun-Oct.

Oil from the seed is economically valuable. Borssum Waalkes recognized three SubSpe within Abelmoschus moschatus, one of which, subsp. tuberosus, is here included within A. sagittifolius. The Chinese material belongs to subsp. moschatus while the third SubSpe, subsp. biakensis, is restricted to New Guinea.

Scrub on slopes, valleys, streamsides, flat areas. Guangdong, Guangxi, Hunan, Jiangxi, Taiwan, Yunnan [Cambodia, India, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam].


 

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