Objectives of Okra Breeding
Okra, also known as lady’s finger, bhindi, gumbo, etc., is a seed propagated hot weather crop sensitive to frost, low temperature (below I5°C), water-log ging as well as drought conditions. It is grown in tropical and sub-tropical re gions and also in warmer parts o f temperate regions. The crop thrives well under hot humid climate. Best plant growth and fruiting is observed at around 25°C average temperatures with high relative humidity (65-85%). Seed ger mination is fast at 30-35°C temperatures. Temperatures lower than 25°C slow down germination while above 42°C slow down plant and fruit growth and cause drying/desiccation and dropping of flower buds. The immature fruits are cooked as vegetable. The fruits are fairly good in nutritive value and 100 g consumable portion contains 10.4 g dry matter, 3100 calorie energy, 1.8 g pro tein, 90 mg calcium, 1.0 mg iron, 0.1 mg carotene, 0.07 mg thiamin, 0.08 mg riboflavin and niacin, and 18 mg vitamin C, with almost comparable constitu ents, barring few, in leaves (Grubben, 1977). In Far-East countries, a form of Abelmoschus ssp. is used as leafy vegetable. Dry fruit shell and stem are used in the manufacture of paper and cardboard. Dry seed kernels of okra contain 13-22% edible oil and 20-24% edible protein and may be used as a substitute for edible oil. Dehydrated and frozen fruits are also marketed for off-season consumption.