Melokhia (Corchorus olitorius, Corchorus capsularis)

Melokhia (Corchorus olitorius, Corchorus capsularis)
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About 40-100 species, including:
Corchorus aestuans
Corchorus capsularis
Corchorus carnarvonensis
Corchorus cunninghamii
Corchorus erodiodes
Corchorus junodi
Corchorus olitorius
Corchorus sidoides
Corchorus tridens
Corchorus walcottii

Corchorus is a genus of about 40-100 species of flowering plants in the family Malvaceae, native to tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world. Different common names are used in different contexts, with jute applying to the fibre produced from the plant, and melokhia (with many similar transliterations from the Arabic: ملوخية) applied to the leaves used as a vegetable.

They are tall, usually annual herbs, reaching a height of 2-4 m, unbranched or with only a few side branches. The leaves are alternate, simple, lanceolate, 5-15 cm long, with an acuminate tip and a finely serrated or lobed margin. The flowers are small (2-3 cm diameter) and yellow, with five petals; the fruit is a many-seeded capsule. It thrives almost anywhere, and can be grown year-round.

The genus Oceanopapaver, previously of uncertain placement, has recently been synonymized under Corchorus.

The name “melokhia” is said to have come from the Arabic word malek (ملك). It is said that the Fatimids made the Corchorus an exclusive dish for themselves, and forbade anyone else to cook it. The word “melokhia” is very similar to “melokia”, which means “royal”.

Other names in English include Bush Okra, Nalta Jute, Jute Mallow, and Jew’s Mallow.