Taxonomic name: Abelmoschus moschatus Medik.
Synonyms: Hibiscus abelmoschus L.
Common names: `aute toga (Samoan-American Samoa and Samoa), abelmosch musqué (French), algalia, almizcle vegetal, almizcle vegetal (French), ambretta semi, ambrette (French), aukiki (Fijian), bisameibisch (German), fau ingo (Wallis and Futuna), fau tagaloa (Samoan-American Samoa and Samoa), fautia (English), fou ingo (Niuean), gombo musqué, gombo musqué (French), gongul (Palauan), kamang (Chamorro-Guam), kamwayang (Yapese), karereon (Chuuk), metei (Pohnpei), musk (English), musk mallow (English), o'e'e (Fijian), okeoke (Fijian), okra (English), vakeke (Fijian), wakeke (Fijian), wakewake (Fijian), wakiwaki (Fijian)
Organism type: herb, shrub
Abelmoschus moschatus is a weedy, herbaceous plant that is native to India, parts of China and tropical Asia, and some Pacific islands. It is cultivated in India for the musk-like oil contained in its seeds, which is valued for perfume manufacture. It is considered a weed in open and disturbed areas. It has been found to be a suitable host plant for the insect Dysdercus cingulatus, which is a serious pest of cotton crops.
Abelmoschus moschatus is an herbaceous trailing plant that grows to 2m in diameter with soft, hairy stems. It can grow up to 1.5m tall. Leaves are alternate, rough, hairy and heart-shaped. They have 3 to 5 lobes and can grow to 15cm long. Flowers resemble those of the hibiscus and are usually watermelon pink, although they are sometimes white or cream in colour. They last for only one day and their flowering depends on the timing of the wet season.Seeds are contained within hairy capsules up to 8cm long, which are tough but papery. A delicate musk-like odour is produced by the seed coat. (Mishra et. al, 2000; PIER, 2003; Townsend, 2000).
agricultural areas, natural forests, planted forests, range/grasslands, riparian zones, ruderal/disturbed, scrub/shrublands, urban areas, wetlands
Abelmoschus moschatus grows in a range of habitats, from marshy areas to forest edges, at elevations of up to 450m. Commonly found in disturbed, open areas, as well as gardens, plantations and ricefields (PIER, 2003). Is able to grow on salt-affected wastelands (Mishra & Naik, 2000).
Considered a weed in open and disturbed areas (PIER, 2003). Found to be a suitable host species for Dysdercus cingulatus, a serious pest of cotton crops (Kohno & Ngan, 2004).
Oil obtained from seeds possesses a musk-like odour that is used in the perfume industry. The roots, seeds and sometimes leaves, are used in traditional Indian medicines for a variety of illnesses, including intestinal complaints, constipation, dyspepsia and gonorrhea (Oudhia, 2001). Valued as an ornamental plant due to its colourful and attractive flowers (Magnolia Gardens Nursery, 2004).
Native Range: Native to India, southern China, tropical Asia and some parts of the Pacific.
Known introduced range: Introduced to Fiji and Tonga.
Introduction pathways to new locations
Agriculture: Cultivated for aromatic oil from seeds.
Local dispersal methods
Agriculture (local): Cultivated for aromatic oil from seeds.
For ornamental purposes (local): Grown as an ornamental garden plant due to its attractive flowers.
Propagation can be from seeds, small tubers, or stem cuttings (Townsend, 2000).
Annual or biennial (Oudhia, 2001).
Compiled by: IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
Last Modified: Thursday, 23 March 2006