Balsam apple - Momordica balsamina L.
Ripening fruits
Fig. 1 
Ripening fruits

Momordica balsamina
Fig. 2
Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Zimbabwe

Momordica balsamina
Fig. 3
Vilankulo, Inhambane, Mozambique

Momordica balsamina
Fig. 7
Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Zimbabwe

Momordica balsamina
Fig. 8
Vilankulo, Inhambane, Mozambique

Habitus and leaves
Fig. 9
Habitus and leaves. M. balsamina, Cucurbitaceae, Balsam Apple, Cundeamor, Southern, Balsam Pear, riping fruits; cultivated in a private garden


Scientific name
Momordica balsamina L.
Common names
English: balsam-apple, southern balsampear; French: pomme de merveille; German: Balsamapfel; Portuguese: balsâmina-de-purga; Spanish: balsamina; Swedish: balsamgurka; Urdu (Pakistan): jangli karela 1,2
Synonyms
M. balsamina var. huberiM. balsamina var. leucanthaM. balsamina var. minorM. garipensisM. huberiM. involucrataM. involucrata var. laciniataM. involucrata var. normalis, Nevrosperma cuspidatum 3
Relatives
Bitter melon (M. charantia L.), Spiny gourd (M. cochinchinensis (Lour.) Spreng.)
Family
Cucurbitaceae
Origin
Africa, Asia; Arabian Peninsula, Indian Subcontinent; Australasia
USDA hardiness zones
8-10 2
Uses
Fruits: pickled, cooked vegetable; young shoots and tendrils: boiled; medicines
Life form
Perennial tendril-bearing climber 
Height/spread
Prostrate or scandent stems up to 9 ft (2.7 m) long 5
Plant habit
Climbing or smothering growth habit 2
Leaves
3.5-5 in. (9-12 cm), broadly ovate, deeply 5-7 lobed 5
Flowers
Unisexual on the same plant, pale yellow, cream or white
Fruit
Egg shaped, 3 in. (8 cm) long 6
Invasive potential *
Not considered a problem species at this time
Known hazard
Poisonous to mammals 1



Reading Material

Momordica - Momordica spp. from the University of Florida pdf
Bitter Gourd, Balsam Pear: Pharmacy On A Fence from Eattheweeds.com
Cucurbit Production Chapter, Asian Cucurbits, in the Vegetable Production Handbook of Florida from the University of Florida pdf 385 pages



Origin 
A native of Zimbabwe 5

Description
Perennial climber with prostrate or scandent stems up to 2.7 m long. Tendrils simple. Leaves up to 9 × 12 cm, broadly ovate to almost circular in outline, deeply 5-7 lobed, each lobed often 3-5 lobed again, deeply cordate at the base; ultimate margin with sinuate teeth. Found in woodland, wooded grassland and riverine fringes, often on sandy soils. 5

Flowers
Flower Momordica balsamina flower Momordica balsamina
Fig. 4 Fig. 5 Fig. 6

Fig. 4. Flower, M. balsamina, Cucurbitaceae, Balsam Apple, Cundeamor, Southern, Balsam Pear, riping fruits; cultivated in a private garden
Fig. 5. Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Zimbabwe
Fig. 6. Inhaca Island, Mozambique

Fruit
Fruit ovoid, tuberculate, beaked, 2.5 - 6.5 cm long orange-red to red when ripe. 5

Developing fruit Ripe fruit Fruit, beginning of splitting open Fruit, splitting open Fruit with seeds
Fig. 10 Fig. 11 Fig. 12 Fig. 13  Fig. 14

Fig. 10. Developing fruit, M. balsamina, cucurbitaceae, balsam Apple, cundeamor, southern, balsam pear, riping fruits; cultivated in a private garden.
Fig. 11. Ripe fruit
Fig. 12. Fruit, beginning of splitting open
Fig. 13. Fruit, splitting open
Fig. 14. Fruit with seeds

Food Uses
The fruit can be pickled or after soaking used as a cooked vegetable.
Young shoots and tendrils are boiled as a green. The seeds are eaten in cooked young fruit. 4
The fruit, 3-inch long, orange-colored, egg-shaped fruit is used in a similar manner to bitter melon - M. charantia L. 6

General
Momordica Balsamina Distribution Range
Fig. 15

Fig 15. Florida Distribution Map of M. balsamina

M. balsamina, which has longer spines on the fruit (than M. charantia) and can ripen to red, grows only in St. Lucie County in Florida and only a smattering of places in the southern U.S. 4


Further Reading
Bitter Gourd: Botany, Horticulture, Breeding from Horticultural Reviews pdf 41 pages
Weed Management in Cucurbit Crops (Muskmelon, Cucumber, Squash, and Watermelon) from the University of Florida pdf 5 pages
Balsam Apple from Sturtevant’s Edible Plants Of The World book, 1919
Balsam Apple Botanical Art


List of Growers and Vendors


Bibliography

1 "Taxon: "Momordica balsamina L." No. 24519. 28 May 2009. U.S. National Plant Germplasm System, www.ars-grin.gov/npgs/. Accessed 14 Jan. 2018.
2 "Momordica balsamina." 2007, 2017. Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida's Natural Areasassessment.ifas.ufl.edu/assessments/momordica-balsamina/. Accessed 14 Jan. 2018.
3 Wunderlin, R. P., B. F. Hansen, A. R. Franck, and F. B. Essig. "Momordica balsamina L." 2018. Atlas of Florida Plants. [S. M. Landry and K. N. Campbell (application development), USF Water Institute.] Institute for Systematic Botany, University of South Florida, Tampa. florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=1746. Accessed 27 Jan. 2018.
Deane, Green. "Bitter Gourd, Balsam Pear: Pharmacy On A Fence." Eat The Weeds And Other Things Too, www.eattheweeds.com/bitter-gourd-balsam-pear-pharmacy-on-a-fence/. Accessed 14 Jan. 2018.
5 Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2018). "Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Momordica balsamina." www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=157160. Accessed 15 Jan. 2018.
Stephens, James M. "Momordica, Momordica spp." This document is HS627, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date May 1994. Revised September 2015, edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mv094. Accessed 1 July 2017.

Photographs

Fig. 1 Zell, H. Riping fruits. 29 July 2009, (CC BY-SA 3.0), commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Momordica_balsamina_003.JPG#/media/File:Momordica_balsamina_004.JPG. Accessed 13 Jan.2018.
Fig. 2 Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2018), Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: individual images: Momordica balsamina, www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/image-display.php?species_id=157160&image_id=3. Accessed 15 Jan. 2018.
Fig. 3 Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2018), Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: individual images: Momordica balsamina, www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/image-display.php?species_id=157160&image_id=11. Accessed 15 Jan. 2018.
Fig. 4 Zell H. Flower. M. balsamina, Cucurbitaceae, Balsam Apple, Cundeamor, Southern, Balsam Pear, riping fruits; cultivated in a private garden. Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas, 3 July 2011, (CC BY-SA 3.0), assessment.ifas.ufl.edu/assessments/momordica-balsamina/. Accessed 8 Jan. 2018.
Fig. 5 Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2018), Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: individual images: : Momordica balsamina, www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/image-display.php?species_id=157160&image_id=2. Accessed 15 Jan. 2018.
Fig. 6 Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2018), Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: individual images: Momordica balsamina, www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/image-display.php?species_id=157160&image_id=14. Accessed 15 Jan. 2018.
Fig. 7 Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2018), Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: individual images: Momordica balsamina, www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/image-display.php?species_id=157160&image_id=1. Accessed 15 Jan. 2018.
Fig. 8 Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2018), Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: individual images: Momordica balsamina, www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/image-display.php?species_id=157160&image_id=8. Accessed 15 Jan. 2018.
Fig. 9 Zell H. Habitus and leaves. 8 July 2009, (CC BY-SA 3.0), commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Momordica_balsamina_001.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Momordica_balsamina_001.JPG. Accessed 8 Jan. 2018.
Fig. 10 Zell, H. Developping fruit. 16 July 2009, (CC BY-SA 3.0), commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Momordica_balsamina_003.JPG#/media/File:Momordica_balsamina_003.JPG Accessed 13 Jan. 2018.
Fig. 11 Zell, H. Ripe fruit. 29 July 2009, (CC BY-SA 3.0), commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Momordica_balsamina_003.JPG#/media/File:Momordica_balsamina_005.JPG. Accessed 13 Jan. 2018.
Fig. 12 Zell, H. Fruit, beginning of splitting open. 12 Aug. 2009, (CC BY-SA 3.0), commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Momordica_balsamina_003.JPG#/media/File:Momordica_balsamina_006.JPG. Accessed 13 Jan. 2018.
Fig. 13 Zell, H. Fruit, splitting open. 12 Aug. 2009, (CC BY-SA 3.0), commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Momordica_balsamina_003.JPG#/media/File:Momordica_balsamina_007.JPG. Accessed 13 Jan. 2018.
Fig. 14 Zell, H. Fruit with seeds. 12 Aug. 2009, (CC BY-SA 3.0), commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Momordica_balsamina_003.JPG#/media/File:Momordica_balsamina_008.JPG. Accessed 13 Jan. 2018.
Fig. 15 Wunderlin, R. P., B. F. Hansen, A. R. Franck, and F. B. Essig. "Momordica balsamina." 2018. Atlas of Florida Plants (florida.plantatlas.usf.edu).[S. M. Landry and K. N. Campbell (application development), USF Water Institute.] Institute for Systematic Botany, University of South Florida, Tampa. Accessed 14 Jan.2018.

*   UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas
** The information provided above is not intended to be used as a guide for treatment of medical conditions using plants.

Published 28 Jan. 2018 KJ
© 2013 - growables.org
about credits disclaimer sitemap updates