PlantsMomordica→Bitter Gourd (Momordica charantia)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Bitter Gourd
Give a thumbs up Bitter Cucumber
Give a thumbs up Melao-de-Sao-Caetano
Give a thumbs up Balsam Pear
Give a thumbs up La-Kwa

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Vine
Life cycle: Annual
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Plant Height: 12 to 15 feet
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Fruiting Time: Fall
Late fall or early winter
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Summer
Late summer or early fall
Underground structures: Taproot
Uses: Medicinal Herb
Edible Parts: Leaves
Eating Methods: Tea
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Humidity tolerant


Growing Unusual Fruits and Vegetables from the Grocery StoreGrowing Unusual Fruits and Vegetables from the Grocery Store
By Bubbles on December 15, 2011

Have you ever wandered through a grocery produce section and wondered how some of the more exotic fruits and vegetables are grown and how they should be prepared? I recently roamed the aisles of a local grocery that caters to our city's growing international transplants. I had never seen so many root vegetables that were unknown to me. My husband wasn't along and therefore could not be embarrassed by his wife, so I asked permission to photograph some of the produce with my phone. The produce manager smiled and said, "People do it all the time."

(Full article66 comments)
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Posted by plantladylin (Sebastian, Florida - Zone 10a) on Jul 17, 2017 11:20 AM

Momordica charantia, a member of the Cucumber (Cucurbitaceae) family of plants, has escaped cultivation here in Florida, becoming a real pest in many areas. In 2013, the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council listed it as a Category II non-native invasive here in the state. Its range in Florida extends throughout the central and southern part of the state, but it is also present in parts of the panhandle. Bitter Gourd forms a dense groundcover and also forms dense thickets, covering shrubs and other vegetation as well as climbing high into trees where it grows along with native air plants (Tillandsia species).

The fruit and leaves of Momordica charantia are said to have medicinal purposes, but the seeds are highly toxic.

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Posted by QueenEmma (South Georgia - Zone 8a) on Jun 24, 2013 6:58 AM

just information: This is a popular plant in India and if you have any friends from India they will know and probably have this gem. It reduces blood sugar.

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Posted by Freejesh on Aug 12, 2017 11:24 PM

Hi All,

I do practice terrace vegetable garden and would like to share my blog post on bitter gourd here.


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Plant Events from our members
piksihk On July 10, 2021 Harvested
Cousin Lai - white bitter melon seeds
piksihk On September 13, 2020 Fruit Ripened
piksihk On July 23, 2018 Fruit Ripened
seeds self-sowed from last year; mom's
harvested two over riped melons
piksihk On October 24, 2017 Fruit Ripened
piksihk On April 26, 2017 Transplanted
HW garden
piksihk On March 11, 2017 Seeds sown
Unknown variety-
piksihk On March 19, 2015 Seeds sown
» Post your own event for this plant

Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Bitter veggie, but very healthy to eat, if you can by tarev Feb 7, 2015 9:35 PM 1
Quiz Time by hlutzow Jun 24, 2020 9:31 PM 2
mystery vine by christinereid54 May 4, 2020 3:56 PM 2
I found this Scindapsus pictus climbing a palm tree in the side yard ... by plantladylin Oct 19, 2019 5:45 PM 13
Location: suburbs Bangkok by TonUni Aug 25, 2019 3:24 AM 2
This vine is all over my azaleas - please help me figure out what this is by msquaredFL Jul 3, 2018 5:18 PM 4
Caladium buds by crawgarden Jul 25, 2017 10:46 AM 24
Plant ID by Seanprice Jun 16, 2017 2:47 PM 22
Vining ground cover. Identify and give kill instructions. by Myrnabeeeyahoocom May 16, 2017 2:38 PM 2
Weed ID by Rachel1784 Dec 2, 2016 7:05 PM 7
Balsam by donnabking Sep 15, 2016 3:26 PM 6

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