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Balsam pear

Bitter melon, Cundeamor, La-kwa

Cucurbitaceae Momordica charantia L.

Balsam apple

M. balsamina L.

Source: Magness et al. 1971

The balsam pear plant is an annual running vine, to 10 feet or more, with near round, lobed leaves. The fruit is 4 to 6 inches long, oblong, pointed and furrowed lengthwise. When full ripe it splits into 3 divisions. The immature fruit is boiled as a vegetable. A pulpy aril surrounds the seeds, which is esteemed by Orientals. In culture, similar to cucumber. The related balsam apple has a smaller, egg-shaped fruit, and is used in a similar manner.

Season, seed to harvest: 3 to 4 months.

Production in U.S.: No data. Mainly oriental gardeners.

Use: As boiled vegetable. Seed arils eaten out of hand.

Part of plant consumed: Whole immature fruits. Seed arils.

Last update February 18, 1999 by ch