In this blog post, I will tell you about the parts of an okra plant and will provide a little description of each part and its functions. By the end of this article, you will have learned a lot about this plant.
What are the parts of an Okra Plant?
The fruit of an okra plant is elongated and pointy at the end. This shape resembles a finger of a woman, hence its alternate name, the ladies finger. The base of the okra fruit is shaped like a lantern, and its colors range from dark green to light green. The okra fruit has ribs that have seeds inside them and is considered a mucilaginous vegetable.
Inside the okra, the pod is the seeds that are used for the okra plant’s reproduction. These seeds can be planted to grow a new okra plant. Not only its fruit but also the seeds are also edible and have a slimy feel on the mouth. In Asia, okra is traditionally mixed in Asian cuisines or dishes and sometimes eaten raw. However, in Western countries, okras are used as a soup thickener.
The okra plant’s flower petals are yellow in color with a hint of red in its center that greatly resembles a hibiscus. Its flower is a little bigger in contrast to the plant’s size. The okra flowers are very brittle and short-lived as they fall down very easily from the plant. These flowers fall after a day of fully blooming leaving behind a green nub that will eventually become the okra fruit or seed pod that can be harvested within just a few days.
An okra plant’s flower is very important as it is the one that produces edible seed pods that can also be used for the okra plant’s reproduction.
The okra plant’s leaves have different sizes and shapes. Some of them are heart-shaped, some are oblong with sharp edges, and some have hand-like lobes and range from 7 to 15 cm in length. It has vibrant green colors that are covered in small spines and have tapers to a point on its end. The okra’s leaves have 5 to 7 lobes on each steam and each of the okra plants grows their leaves alternately.
The main responsibility of the leaves of an okra plant is to convert the minerals and
energy that it receives to the energy that the plant can use. The leaves store the energy that it receives from the sunlight and mixes it with water and carbon dioxide to produce food for the okra plant in a process called photosynthesis.
The okra root is the part that is buried beneath the ground. Aside from the okra’s tap root, it also has support roots that are capable of burying themselves deeper into the ground if taken properly and are constantly supplied with water. An okra plant having roots that are buried more deeply underground is very useful as it will help in supporting tall okra plants.
The main function of the okra’s roots is to collect water and minerals from the soil to be distributed to every part of the okra plant’s body, specifically the leaves. The water and minerals that are absorbed by the roots are converted and used as energy for the plant.
An okra plant has erect stems that are small in diameter. It also produces many little hairs that make the plant a bit rough on the surface. The main purpose of the okra’s stem is to be the anchor that supports the whole plant from top to bottom. It also acts as a passageway for the water and minerals that the roots absorb and store or distribute evenly to the other okra plants.
Okra branches are the ones that sprout sideways from the stem. A branch of okra is very smooth and soft. It is the one that holds the okra’s leaves and its fruits. Some of the okra plants shoot their branches upward and not sideways. The okra branches’ position varies from one okra plant to another.
While the stem of the okra acts as an anchor to support the whole body of the plant. The branches are the ones that hold the leaves, fruits, and flowers of the okra plant. The branches also help distribute the water and minerals that are stored in the stem and distribute it to the okra plant’s leaves and flowers.
What parts of okra plants are edible?
In addition to its fruit, the okra plant’s leaves, seeds, and flowers are also edible part of it. Although pretty much uncommon, its young leaves can be cooked the same way as they cook spinach. Its seeds can also be ground and used as a substitute for coffee. The flowers are popularly mixed in some traditional dishes or cuisines.
What is the slimy part of okra called?
When eaten, the okra fruit has a very slimy and gooey feeling. It is because the okra fruits are known as mucilaginous. The slimy part of the okra fruit is “mucilage” and contains a soluble fiber that is also digestible.
Is Okra and Lady Finger the same?
Okra also has an alternate name which is Ladies Finger due to its appearance that is very similar to a ladies’ nails that are very pointy. Okra is commonly used in the US and Philippines while the Lady Finger name is an English term that is used outside of the mentioned countries.
Okra plants are very similar to other common plants. Has the basic parts of a stem, leaves, roots, branches, and fruits. However, each of these parts has very different characteristics from any of the other plants. And just like any other plant, every part of this plant is necessary for the plant’s survival. Each of them has its own function that is very vital for the plant’s development and survival.
Meet Tomas Clayton, a seasoned plant gardener who has been passionate about horticulture since he was a child. Tomas John developed a love for the natural world and a strong appreciation for the beauty of plants while growing up on a farm.