Sp. Pl. 2: 1009. 1753.


Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 440. 1754.

Common names: Balsam-apple bitter melon cundeamor
Etymology: Latin mordicus, biting, alluding to sculptured seed surfaces and margins, appearing as though bitten
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 6. Treatment on page 7. Mentioned on page 3, 4, 5.

Plants annual [perennial], monoecious [dioecious], climbing or trailing; stems glabrous or hairy; roots fibrous; tendrils unbranched [2-branched]. Leaves simple or compound; blade broadly ovate or reniform to orbiculate, palmately 3–7[–9]-lobed, usually pedate, lobes broadly ovate, rhombic-ovate, ovate-oblong, or ovate-elliptic, margins coarsely and widely dentate to crenate-dentate or sinuate-dentate, [mucronulate-dentate or remotely denticulate], surfaces eglandular. Inflorescences: staminate flowers solitary, [corymbose, racemose, or umbellate], axillary; pistillate flowers solitary, from different axils than staminate; peduncles erect at apex; bracts persistent, ovate-cordate, reniform, or orbiculate-cordate [ovate, rhombic-ovate]. Flowers: hypanthium obconic; sepals 5, linear to ovate-lanceolate or ovate-acuminate; petals 5, distinct, yellow to bright yellow [greenish yellow], obovate or oblong [suborbiculate], [5–]7–25[–32] mm, glabrous, corolla rotate to broadly and shallowly campanulate. Staminate flowers: stamens (2–)3; filaments inserted near hypanthium rim, staminodes absent or 3, glandular. Fruits berrylike or capsular, pendent, red or red-orange to yellow-orange, oblong-fusiform to ellipsoidal, cylindric or ovoid, beaked, fleshy, thick-walled, irregularly tuberculate to muricate, muriculate, or irregularly smooth-ridged, glabrous, apically dehiscent by 3 valves [indehiscent or irregularly dehiscent]. Seeds 10–50, oblong to ovoid-oblong beyond narrowed base, turgid or flattened, red-arillate, margins grooved, surfaces smooth or sculptured. x = 11, 14.


Introduced; Asia, Africa, Australia, introduced also in Mexico, West Indies, South America, Europe, se Asia, Pacific Islands, Australia.


Species 59 (2 in the flora).


1 Bracts of staminate flowers near peduncle apex, margins dentate to denticulate; leaf lobes and teeth apiculate; fruits 2.5–4(–7) cm. Momordica balsamina
1 Bracts of staminate flowers at or proximal to middle of peduncle, margins entire; leaf lobes and teeth sometimes submucronate but not apiculate; fruits 7–25 cm. Momordica charantia
... more about "Momordica"
Guy L. Nesom +
Linnaeus +
Balsam-apple +, bitter melon +  and cundeamor +
Asia +, Africa +, Australia +, introduced also in Mexico +, West Indies +, South America +, Europe +, se Asia +, Pacific Islands +  and Australia. +
Latin mordicus, biting, alluding to sculptured seed surfaces and margins, appearing as though bitten +
Sp. Pl. +  and Gen. Pl. ed. +
1753 +  and 1754 +
schaefer2010a +
Momordica +
Cucurbitaceae +