Momordica balsamina

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For the closely related vine known for its bitter and edible fruit, see Momordica charantia.
Momordica balsamina
Momordica balsamina 007.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Cucurbitales
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Momordica
Species: M. balsamina
Binomial name
Momordica balsamina
L.

Momordica balsamina is a tendril-bearing annual vine native to the tropical regions of Africa, introduced and invasive in Asia, Australia, and Central America. It has pale yellow, deeply veined flowers and round, somewhat warty, bright orange fruits, or "apples". When ripe, the fruits burst apart, revealing numerous seeds covered with a brilliant scarlet, extremely sticky coating. The balsam apple was introduced into Europe by 1568 and was used medicinally to treat wounds.[citation needed] In 1810, Thomas Jefferson planted this vine in his flower borders at Monticello along with larkspur, poppies, and nutmeg.

The outer rind and the seeds of the fruit are poisonous.[1]

Names[edit]

M. balsamina and the related Momordica charantia share some common names: "African cucumber", "balsam apple", and "balsam pear". Other names for M. balsamina are "balsamina" or "southern balsam pear".[2][3] It is known in Africa under a broad range of names, e.g. in Mozambique as cacana and in South Africa as nkaka.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nelson, Lewis S.; Shih, Richard D.; Balick, Michael J.; New York Botanical Garden (2007). Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants (2nd ed.). New York: Springer. p. 217. ISBN 978-0-387-31268-2. Retrieved August 11, 2011. 
  2. ^ Quattrocchi, Umberto (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology III. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press. p. 1711. ISBN 0-8493-2677-X. Retrieved Aug 11, 2011. 
  3. ^ Grubben, G.J.H.; Denton, O.A., eds. (2004). Vegetables. Plant Resources of Tropical Africa 2. Wageningen, Netherlands: PROTA Foundation. pp. 384–5. ISBN 978-90-5782-147-9. Retrieved August 11, 2011. 

External links[edit]