Musk Mallow   
Foto info
Musk Mallow
ative Photo: Navendu Pāgé
Common name: Musk Mallow, Musk okra, Ambrette, ornamental okra, annual hibiscus, yorka okra, galu gasturi, bamia moschata, Muskdana, Ornamental okra • Hindi: मुश्कदाना Mushkdana, कस्तूरीदाना Kasturi-dana, जंगली भिंडी Jangli bhindi • Manipuri: Bawrthsaisbe suak, Uichhuhlo • Marathi: कस्तूरी भॆंडी Kasthooribhendi, मुस्कादाना Muskadaana • Tamil: kasturi-vendaik-kay-virai, kaattu kasturi • Malayalam: kasturi-venta-vitta, kattu-kasturi • Telugu: kasturi-benda-vittulu, karpoorabenda • Kannada: kasturi bende, kaadu kastoori • Bengali: kalkasturi, latakasturi, mushakdan • Urdu: Mushkdana • Assamese: gorokhiakarai • Sanskrit: लताकस्तूरिका Latakasturika • Tangkhul: Tawonrong
Botanical name: Abelmoschus moschatus    Family: Malvaceae (Mallow family)
Synonyms: Hibiscus abelmoschu

Musk Mallow is a soft, herbaceous trailing plant to 2 m in length, with soft hairy stems. It has an underground tuber and dies back to this tuber in the dry season, emerging again with the first substantial rains of the wet season. Leaves are extremely variable in shape and size, in outline mostly circular to transversally elliptic, at base usually heart-shaped, angular, or 3-7-palmately lobed. Upper leaves are usually narrower and often arrow-shaped, coarsely toothed, rarely entire, at base 5-9-nerved. Flowers occur singly in leaf axils. Sepal cup is velvety outside. Petals are obovate, rounded at the tip, fleshy at the base and fringed by simple hairs. Stamen column is mostly yellow, at base dark purple, hairless. It is a relative of the edible okra and tubers and foliage formed a source of food for aborigines.
Medicinal uses: Musk Mallow is used as an antidote for snakebites. An emulsion from the seeds is considered to be anti-spasmodic and is used externally. Extensively used as an insecticide and a aphrodisiac. The oil of the seeds, with a strong musk odor, are also used in the perfume industry (now largely replaced by synthetic musk oils) and is used to flavor coffee.

Identification credit: Navendu Pāgé
Photographed in Dehradoon, Uttarakhand.
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