Bitter Gourd (Momordica charantia)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Bitter Gourd
Give a thumbs up Bitter Cucumber
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
Flower Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Summer
Late summer or early fall
Inflorescence Type: Single
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
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 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 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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Plant Events from our members
piksihkOn April 26, 2017Transplanted
HW garden
piksihkOn March 11, 2017Seeds sown
Unknown variety-
piksihkOn March 19, 2015Seeds sown
» Post your own event for this plant

Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread TitleLast ReplyReplies
Bitter veggie, but very healthy to eat, if you can by tarevFeb 7, 2015 9:35 PM1
Plant ID by SeanpriceJun 16, 2017 2:47 PM22
Vining ground cover. Identify and give kill instructions. by MyrnabeeeyahoocomMay 16, 2017 2:38 PM2
Weed ID by Rachel1784Dec 2, 2016 7:05 PM7
Balsam by donnabkingSep 15, 2016 3:26 PM6
vine by MonkdadAug 29, 2016 11:45 AM1
Bitter Gourd (Momordica charantia) by mellielongAug 28, 2015 6:30 AM7
Momordica (Momordica rostrata) by ReineMay 5, 2015 8:48 PM6
Need help id'ing vine by katbirdJun 4, 2014 9:44 AM3
Bitter gourd parent? by piksihkJun 22, 2013 9:56 PM1
yellow flowering vine in Brazil by bonitinNov 10, 2011 9:00 AM2

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