'Bagalhali' Tetra Okra (Manihot Hibiscus)
Abelmoschus manihot subsp. tetraphyllus
Origin: Bagalhali, Sahranpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Improvement Status: Landrace
Seeds per packet: ~45
Germination tested 1/2023: 63%
Life cycle: Annual
From our friend Chris Smith of the Utopian Seed Project (and author of James Beard award-winning book The Whole Okra) comes this very interesting plant. A close relative of okra, most manihot hibiscus species are grown for their large edible leaves (as is the case with the variety we are offering from Kagawa, Japan). While this variety (in the "tetraphyllus" subspecies) also has edible leaves, they are not so large and rather spiny. The young pods are also edible, and the flowers are quite beautiful, but it seems likely that this plant was likely bred for a different purpose entirely: as an oilseed crop. Hailing from the village of Bagalhali in Uttar Pradesh, India, seeds of this variety are very high in tasty edible oil (20.9%), which puts it in the top 0.5% of all of the okra and okra cousins tested (1448 individual accessions) by the USDA for oilseed content in a 2012 study. We're excited to be offering this for sale for the first time and hope you enjoy learning more about it with us!