About 40–100 species, including:
The plants 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.
The genus Oceanopapaver, previously of uncertain placement, has recently been synonymized under Corchorus. The name was established by Guillaumin in 1932 for the single species Oceanopapaver neocaledonicum Guillaumin from New Caledonia. The genus has been classified in a number of different families including Capparaceae, Cistaceae, Papaveraceae, and Tiliaceae. The putative family name "Oceanopapaveraceae" has occasionally appeared in print and on the web but is a nomen nudum and has never been validly published nor recognised by any system of plant taxonomy.
The genus Corchorus was first described by Linnaeus in his great work Species Plantarum (1753). It is derived from the Ancient Greek word κόρχορος or κόρκορος (korkhoros or korkoros) which referred to a wild plant of uncertain identity, possibly jute or wild asparagus.
Corchorus leaves are consumed in the cuisines of various countries. Corchorus olitorius is used mainly in the cuisines of southern Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and West Africa, Corchorus capsularis in Japan and China. It has a mucilaginous (somewhat "slimy") texture, similar to okra, when cooked. The seeds are used as a flavouring, and a herbal tea is made from the dried leaves. The leaves of Corchorus are rich in betacarotene, iron, calcium, and vitamin C. The plant has an antioxidant activity with a significant α-tocopherol equivalent vitamin E.
In North Africa and the Middle East, the young leaves of Corchorus species are known in Arabic as malukhiyah and are used as green leafy vegetables . Malukhiyah is eaten widely in Egypt and some consider it the Egyptian national dish. It is featured in cuisines from Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Jordan and Tunisia. In Turkey and Cyprus, the plant is known as molohiya or molocha and is usually cooked into a kind of chicken stew. The leaves of Corchorus have been a staple Egyptian food since the time of the Pharaohs and it is from there that it gains its recognition and popularity. Varieties of mallow-leaves stew with rice is a well known Middle Eastern cuisine.
In Nigerian cuisine, especially amongst the Yorubas, it is commonly used in a stew known as ewedu, a condiment to other starch-based foods such as amala. The Hausa people of Nigeria and their Fula neighbours call it rama. They use it to produce soup (taushe) or boil the leaves and mix it with kuli-kuli (groundnut cake) to form a dish known as kwado in Hausa. The Hausa peasant farmers cultivate it beside their corn-stalk constructed homesteads or among their main crops in their farms. The Hausa and Fulbe peoples also use jute leaves to treat some diseases.
In Ghana, it is mostly eaten by the people in the North and it is called ayoyo. It is mostly eaten with Tuozaafi (food prepared with cornflour).
Jute leaves are also consumed among the Luhya people of Western Kenya, where it is commonly known as mrenda or murere. It is eaten with starchy foods like ugali, a staple for most communities in Kenya. In Northern Sudan it is called khudra, meaning "green" in Sudanese Arabic. The Songhai people of Mali call it fakohoy.
In India, it is locally known as nalta sag. It is a favorite food during the summer months, especially in Sambalpur and the western part of Odisha. Usually it is lightly sauteed and eaten along with rice or rice gruel.
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- Stewart Robert Hinsley. "The Corchorus (Jute) Pages". Malvaceae Info. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
- "Corchorus L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2003-06-05. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
- B. A. Whitlock, K. G. Karol, and W. S. Alverson. 2003. Chloroplast DNA Sequences Confirm the Placement of the Enigmatic Oceanopapaver within Corchorus (Grewioideae: Malvaceae s.l., Formerly Tiliaceae). International Journal of Plant Sciences 164: 35–41
- Asa Gray (1849). "The Genera of the Plants of the United States, Volume II". George P. Putnam. p. 94.
- David Gledhill (2008). The Names of Plants. Cambridge University Press. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-521-86645-3.
- Asif Anwar. "The Golden, Copper, and Silver Fibers". Golden Fibre Trade Centre Limited. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
- "Vegetable dishes: Molohiya". Turkish-Cypriot Cuisine. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
- "In Bandajuma village, these beneficiaries of an UMCOR Sierra Leone food security program are harvesting the first crop of krain krain, for sale and own consumption.". United Methodist Committee on Relief Non-Governmental Organization. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
- "African Leafy Vegetables" (PDF). Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI). Retrieved November 20, 2011.
- Danny O. Calleja (February 15, 2010). "Saluyot now a popular vegetable worldwide". Inquirer. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
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