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Family Malvaceae
Hairy okra
Abelmoschus crinitus Wall.
Chang mao huang kui

Scientific names Common names
Abelmoschus crinitus Wall.            Hairy okra (Engl.)
Abelmoschus fusiformis Wall.            Hairy okhra (Engl.)
Abelmoschus hainanensis S.Y.Hu             
Abelmoschus racemosus Wall.             
Abelmoschus theiodes Voigt             
Hibiscus bodinieri H.Lév        
Hibiscus cancellatus Roxb. ex G.don           
Hibiscus cavaleriei H.Lév        
Hibiscus crinitus (Wall.) G.don           
Hibiscus fusiformis Steud.             
Hibiscus sulphureus Wall. ex Voigt             
Abelmoschus crinitus is an accepted species. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
BENGALI: Bon bhendi, Paharhi bhendi.
CHINESE: Chang mao huang kui, Huang qie hua.
HINDI: Kamlya.
KANNADA: Kachalu.
MARATHI: Pahadi-bhendi.
ORIYA: Bond ki phul.

Gen info
- Abelmoschus crinitus is a species of flowering plant belonging to the mallow family. It was first described by Nathaniel Wallich in 1831. (4)
- Abelmoschus crinitus is a tertiary genetic relative of, and potential gene donor to okra, Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench. Alongside other wild Abelmoschus species, it carries complete resistance to yellow vein mosaic virus. (8)

Abelmoschus crinitus is an erect herb, up to 1.5 m tall with tuber-like taproot, aboveground parts often prickly pilose. Leaves orbicular or transversely elliptical in outline, 5-7-lobed, 10-15 cm × 7.5-12.5 cm, upper ones often smaller; petiole up to 18 cm long. Inflorescence consisting of solitary axillary flowers or partly racemose; epicalyx segments 10-16, linear, 2.5-5 cm long, persisting in fruit; flowers 10-12.5 cm in diameter, yellow with small purple center. Fruit an ovoid, hispid capsule, 3.5-5 cm long, with numerous seeds. (1)

A perennial herb, 0.5-2 m tall, entire plant long yellow setose (hairs 5-6 mm) and minutely gray puberulent. Stipules filiform, 1.5-4 cm; petiole 4-12 cm; leaf blades on proximal part of stem orbicular, ca. 9 cm in diam., 5-lobed, those on mid stem cordate, those on distal part of stem sagittate, 4-15 cm, hirsute with long hairs on both surfaces, sparsely hispid or stellate hispid with long hairs on veins. Inflorescences terminal or axillary, a 3-9-flowered raceme. Pedicel 1-1.5(-2.5) cm. Epicalyx lobes 10-20, filiform, 10-35 × 1-2 mm, densely yellow, long hirsute. Calyx spathaceous, longer than epicalyx, simple-pubescent, also yellow setose toward apex, lobes linear. Corolla yellow, ca. 13 cm in diam.; petals 5-8 cm. Staminal column ca. 2 cm. Style branches 5; stigma flat. Capsule subglobose, 3-4 × ca. 3 cm, densely hirsute with yellow and long hairs. Seeds many, reniform, verrucose. (The species is easily distinguished from other species by its long yellow hairs and many filiform epicalyx lobes.) (Flora of China)

- Native to the Philippines.
- Also native to Assam, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hainan, Himalaya, India, Jawa, Laos, Malaya, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam. (2)
- In lowland areas subject to a pronounced dry season, in grassy fields, and slopes,waste places and in teak forests, from 300-1300 m altitude. (1)

- Methanol leaf extract yielded alkaloids, terpenoids, carbohydrates, tannins, flavonoids, and steroids, with absence of glycosides. (see study below) (7)

- Considered antilithic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, appetizer, aromatic, carminative, cooling, digestive tonic, insecticide, nervine tonic, stimulant, stomachic, vulnerary, wound healing. (3)
- Study has suggested antibacterial properties.

Parts used
Roots, leaves.


- Leaves and shoot edible; used as vegetable; cooked in soups. Leaves used to clarify sugar.
- Unripe seedpods are cooked. Seeds fried or roasted has a taste similar to sesame seeds. (3)
- Oil from plant used to flavor baked goods, ice cream, sweets, soft drinks. (3)
- Roots have a bland flavor and fibrous texture. (3)
- No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
- Leaves used for treatment of diarrhea and dysentery.
- In India, 5-10 ml of whole plant juice taken twice daily against dysentery. (6)
- Aborigines of Kalahandi district, Odisha, use roots for dysentery and diarrhea. Leaves are used for treating diabetes, jaundice, cholera, asthma. (7)
- Paste of leaves applied on forehead to cure headache.
- Flavor: Seed used as flavoring for liqueurs and to scent coffee. (3)

Antibacterial / Leaves:
Study evaluated 21 medicinal plants used by an Indian aboriginal tribe against infectious bacteria isolated from clinical samples. The methanol leaf extract of Telemachus tinnitus was one of ten that showed moderate antibacterial activity by agar-well diffusion method.  Telemachus tinnitus showed zones of inhibition, MIC and MBC as follows: E. fatalistic 17mm, 4.27, 9.63; S. bureaus 18mm, 3.41, 4.27; A. banning 17mm, 4.27, 9.63; C. resounding 20mm, 3.41, 4.27; E. erogenous 16mm, 4.27, 9.63; E. coil 21mm, 1.51, 3.41; K. pneumonia 17mm,4.27, 9.63; P. desirabilia 18mm, 3.41, 4.27; P. vulgars 14mm,9.63, 21.67; and P. oleaginous 19mm, 3.41, 4.27, respectively. (7)


June 2023

                                                 PHOTOS / ILLUSTRATIONS
IMAGE SOURCE: Photo: Abelmoschus crinitus - Leaves, flowers, fruits / © Allpaedia / click on image of link to go to source page / Allpedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Illustration: Abelmoschus crinitus - flowering stem / Photograph by: Lindley: The Botanical Register (1825) / Public Domain / click on image or link to go to source page / Useful Tropical Plants

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Abelmoschus crinitus (PROSEA) / L E Groen, J S Siemonsma, P C M Jansen / Pl@ntUse
Abelmoschus crinitus / Synonyms / KEW: Plants of the World Online
Abelmoschus crinitus / Allpaedia

Abelmoschus crinitus  / Flora of China
Abelmoschus crinitus / Wikipedia
Medicinal plants used by triibals of Palamau Tiger Reserve, Palamau District, Jharkhand
/ Rajeev Kr. Singh, Sanjay Singh, H J Chowdhery / Journal of Non-Timber Forest Products, 2009; 16(3): pp 245-248
In vitro antibacterial efficacy of plants used by an Indian aboriginal tribe against pathogenic bacteria isolated from clinical samples / Shasank S Swain, M Sc and Rabindra N Padhy, PhD / Journal of Taibah University Medical Sciences, 2015; 10(4): pp 379-390 / DOI: 10.1016/j.jtumed.2015.08.006
Abelmoschus crinitus / Tropical Plants Database: Ken Fern / Useful Tropical Plants

DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

                                                            List of Understudied Philippine Medicinal Plants

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