Flora of the Hawaiian Islands
Dicotyledon Literature for Momordica charantia
Wagner et al., 1990, 1999; Lorence & Wagner, 2020.
   Cucurbitaceae -- The Gourd Family Bibliography
      Momordica charantia

Common name(s): bitter melon, balsam pear
General Information
DistributionNative from tropical Africa to Australia.In the Hawaiian Islands, naturalized on Midway, Ni`ihau, Kaua`i, O`ahu, Moloka`i, Lana`i, Maui, Kaho`olawe, Hawai`i.

Annual, monoecious, climbing herb or vine; stems to several meters long, pubescent or glabrate.
Leaves petiolate; blade simple, broadly ovate in outline with a basal sinus, 4‒10 cm long, 4‒8 cm wide, deeply 5-lobed, lobes ovate, margin dentate or lobulate, apex acute; petiole 3‒5 cm long, tendrils unbranched.
Staminate flowers on pedicel 4‒80 mm long, bracteate below the middle; bracts green, suborbicular, mucronate, 3‒20 mm long, calyx lobes lanceolate, 4‒6 mm long, petals yellow, obovate to spatulate, 10‒12 mm long; pistillate flowers on pedicel 2‒70 mm long, bracteate as in staminate flower, hypanthium ovoid, attenuate, muricate, 8‒30 mm long, stigmas papillate.
Fruit ripening pale orange to orange-red, ovoid to ellipsoid, attenuate, 3‒12 cm long (in wild plants), longitudinally ridged, warty, or with subconical spines, dehiscing irregularly as a 3-valved fleshy capsule, with seeds encased in red pulp.
Seeds pale brown, 8‒16 mm long, ellipsoid-compressed, ends apiculate, margin undulate, surface granular.
2n = 11, 22.
Nancy Khan