This is Okwuru also known as ladies fingers, Okra or Okro, a plant indigenous to Igboland, that bears elongated pentagonal shaped edible fruit .
“Ndi be anyi si na, Okwuru anaghi akari onye kuru ya.”
A child does not grow bigger than it’s father . The plant can not grow taller than the owner.
If you think you have grown they will bend you over and shape (reprimand) you.
Igbo people use this proverb to describe the process when the flowered plant is growing tall the okwuru fruit gathers in bunches and as it shoots up in height the planters usually have to roll the branches over before they are plucked.
If the fruit isn’t plucked and harvested when ripe it will become dry and the fruit will burst and begin the natural process of dispersal by explosion.
It is planted during the rainy season ( around February ) as the land is naturally fertile. Irrigation is not common or encouraged for this particular crop so traditionally in Igboland the season is followed accordingly for plantation.
Words by Ogoma Onwukanjo.
Photography by Obuineke Amaechi.