Plant Listings

Momordica charantia

Momordica charantia L.

Common name: Cerasee, Wild Balsam Apple

Family: Cucurbitaceae

Habit: Momordica charantia grows as an annual vine up climbing on fences and other vegetation through tendrils from leaf axils. The leaves are arranged alternately, reniform in shape with lobes, to 6 cm in length and 12 cm wide, with an entire margin, lobes with a rounded to acute apex.

The incomplete, imperfect, actinomorphic, flowers are arranged solitarily in leaf axils. The calyx has 5 fused green sepals.  The corolla has 5 unfused, yellow petals.  In staminate flowers there are 3 stamens, 2 staminodes and no carpel. In carpellate flowers there are two staminodes but no stamens and an inferior ovary with a single locule and many seeds.  The fruit is an orange berry at maturity with red seeds.

Momordica charantia grows in Human Altered environments (old fields, yards, roadsides, fence lines).

Momordica charantia is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago.  It is native to Africa and Asia but has spread throughout tropical and subtropical Western Hemisphere.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage:
Momordica charantia has been used in the Lucayan Archipelago to treat colds and flus, obstetric and gynecological issues, gastrointestinal problems, and in strengthening teas.