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balsam-pear, bitter-melon

southern balsampear


pubescent to glabrescent.


petiole 1–4(–6) cm;

blade broadly ovate or reniform to orbiculate, palmately 3–5-lobed, 1–9(–12) cm, base cordate, lobes broadly ovate or rhombic-ovate, sinuses 80–90% to base, margins sinuate-dentate, leaf lobes and teeth apiculate, surfaces glabrous or sparsely hairy.


staminate peduncles bracteate near apex, bracts sessile, broadly ovate-cordate to reniform, margins dentate to denticulate; pistillate peduncles ebracteate or bracteate at base to submedially.


orange-red, broadly ovoid, 2.5–4(–7) cm, beak becoming less prominent at maturity, surface minutely tuberculate, muriculate in longitudinal rows.


ovate-oblong, 9–12 mm.


yellow, obovate, 8–15 mm.


= 22.

Momordica charantia

Momordica balsamina

Phenology Flowering May–Sep.
Habitat Hammocks, disturbed areas, roadsides, fencerows
Elevation 10–200 m (0–700 ft)
from FNA
AL; CT; FL; GA; LA; PA; Africa
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
from FNA
AL; FL; LA; NM; OK; TX; Asia; Africa [Introduced in North America; introduced also in Mexico, West Indies, Australia]
[BONAP county map]

Subspecies 2 (1 in the flora).

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Reports of Momordica balsamina from Alabama and Texas are not documented. Naturalized occurrences of the species elsewhere in the flora area are scattered and uncommon.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Source FNA vol. 6, p. 8. FNA vol. 6, p. 8.
Parent taxa Cucurbitaceae > Momordica Cucurbitaceae > Momordica
Sibling taxa
M. balsamina
M. charantia
Subordinate taxa
M. charantia subsp. charantia
Name authority Linnaeus: Sp. Pl. 2: 1009. (1753) Linnaeus: Sp. Pl. 2: 1009. (1753)
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