Okra comes from a large vegetable plant thought to be of African origin, and it was brought to the United States three centuries ago by African slaves. The word okra comes from the West African nkruma, and is reported to have been in use since the late 1700s. The plant belongs to the same family as hibiscus and cotton. It is also known as lady's fingers.

Okra, Abelmoschus esculentus, grows in tropical and warm temperate climates. It is an annual or perennial plant that is very resistant to heat and drought and can tolerate poor soils. During the wet season, the crop is tolerant to most insect pests but may be affected by disease. During the dry season, insect pests such as leafhoppers and aphids may cause damage.

The plant is valued for its fruit, a capsule that contains many seeds, can grow to about 18 cm. long. However, its leaves are also eaten as vegetables. Okra seeds are used as a non-caffeinated substitute for coffee and can also be a source of seed oil. Okra is said to be of economic importance because of it nutritional value that has the potential to improve food security.

More information about okra can be found in the Ecological Guide for IPM in Okra.

For more information about the performance of okra cultivars in relation to agro-ecological conditions, cultivation practices, the occurrence of pests and diseases and timing of the production, search the FAO data base at: http://www.fao.org/hortivar

Click the list below for more crop specific information

  1. General Information: Origin, distribution etc.

  2. Production / Productivity

  3. Okra pests / diseases
  4. Post Harvest: