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Balsam-pear Momordica charantia


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Balsam-pear - flower and unripe fruit

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Alternate name: Wild Balsam-apple, Bitter Melon

Family: Cucurbitaceae, Cucumber view all from this family

Description This climbing vine is widely cultivated around the world for its fruit.
Habit: introduced annual vine; twining.
Height: to 16 ft (5 m).
Leaf: alternate, deeply palmately divided, 3-7 toothed lobes, 1.5-5 in (4-12 cm) long and wide.
Flower: pale yellow, flattened cup, 5-parted, to 1 in (25 mm) wide, with wide petals.
Fruit: warty oblong melon, warty, spiny, to 5 in (125 mm) long; pale green, maturing to deep golden yellow, then splitting to reveal bright orange-red seeds.

Flower June to October.

Habitat Disturbed sites, walls.

Range Native to the tropics and subtropics worldwide; escaped from cultivation and naturalized in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Hawaii, and the Gulf Coast state from Florida to Texas (not reported in Mississippi).

Discussion Also called bitter melon, bitter gourd, karela.