Description from Flora of China
Hibiscus esculentus Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 696. 1753; H. longifolius Willdenow.
Herbs annual, 1-2 m tall, most parts with very sparse prickly hairs. Stem often hollow. Stipule filiform, 7-10 mm, sparsely hirsute; petiole 7-15(-35) cm, long hirsute, often with pubescent adaxial groove; leaf blade palmately 3-7-lobed, (5-)10-30 cm in diam., lobes broad to narrow, sparsely hirsute on both surfaces, margin sparsely dentate and emarginate. Flowers solitary, axillary. Pedicel (0.5-)1-2(-5) cm, sparsely strigose. Epicalyx lobes 7-10(-12), filiform, 5-18 × 1-2.5 mm, sparsely hirsute. Calyx campanulate, 2-3 cm, densely stellate puberulent. Corolla yellow or white with dark purple center, 5-7 cm in diam.; petals obovate, 3.5-5 × 3-4 cm. Filament tube 2-2.5 cm. Capsule cylindric to tower-shaped, 10-25 × 1.5-2(-3) cm, long beaked, sparsely strigose. Seeds dark brown or gray, globose to reniform, 5-15 per locule, (3-)4-5(-6) mm, striate, minutely warty. Fl. May-Sep.
The young fruits are an important vegetable (okra) in S Asia.
Cultivated. Guangdong, Hainan, Hebei, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Yunnan, Zhejiang [native to India].