1. Family: Cucurbitaceae Juss.
    1. Genus: Momordica L.
      1. Momordica balsamina L.

        This species is accepted, and its native range is Tropical & S. Africa.

    [FWTA]

    Cucurbitaceae, Hutchinson and Dalziel. Flora of West Tropical Africa 1:1. 1954

    Habit
    A climber, wild, and often planted and growing over native huts
    Flowers
    Flowers yellow (sometimes white) with a dark centre
    Fruits
    Fruit orange-yellow, beaked, 1–21/2 in. long, bursting and exposing red-brown seeds
    Ecology
    In drier regions.
    [FZ]

    Cucurbitaceae, C. Jeffrey. Flora Zambesiaca 4. 1978

    Habit
    Stems prostrate or scandent, to 2·7 m., finely rather sparsely crispate-pubescent, especially at nodes.
    Leaves
    Leaf-lamina 1–9 × 1·2–12 cm., broadly ovate to suborbicular in outline, deeply cordate, minutely punctate and laxly pubescent on veins beneath, very shortly sparsely setulose especially on veins above, deeply palmately 5–7-lobed, lobes sharply to obtusely 3–5-lobulate or sometimes merely sinuate-dentate, acute to rounded or subtruncate, apiculate.
    Petiole
    Petiole 0·3–6·1 cm. long.
    Tendrils
    Tendrils simple.
    Flowers
    Flowers monoecious, solitary. male flowers: peduncle 1·6–10·5 cm. long; bract 2-18 mm. long, broadly ovate to suborbicular, sessile, apiculate, pallid with dark green veins and tip; pedicel 2–5 mm. long. Receptacle-tube 2–4·5 mm. long, lobes 4–9 mm. long, ovate, broadly ovate or obovate, acute to rounded, bluntly acuminate or apiculate, blackish or green. Petals 1·0–1·9 cm. long, pale yellow, cream or white, green-veined, dark at the base, obovate-oblong, rounded or slightly retuse, apiculate. Female flowers: peduncle 2–5 mm. long; bract 1·5–5 mm. long, green; pedicel 0·4–2·7 cm. long; ovary 4–13 × 2–4 mm., ovoid, rostrate, sparsely tuberculate, puberulous; receptacle-tube 0·5–1 mm. long, lobes narrow, 1–5 mm. long; petals 0·5–1·3 cm. long.
    Male
    male flowers: peduncle 1·6–10·5 cm. long; bract 2-18 mm. long, broadly ovate to suborbicular, sessile, apiculate, pallid with dark green veins and tip; pedicel 2–5 mm. long. Receptacle-tube 2–4·5 mm. long, lobes 4–9 mm. long, ovate, broadly ovate or obovate, acute to rounded, bluntly acuminate or apiculate, blackish or green. Petals 1·0–1·9 cm. long, pale yellow, cream or white, green-veined, dark at the base, obovate-oblong, rounded or slightly retuse, apiculate.
    Female
    Female flowers: peduncle 2–5 mm. long; bract 1·5–5 mm. long, green; pedicel 0·4–2·7 cm. long; ovary 4–13 × 2–4 mm., ovoid, rostrate, sparsely tuberculate, puberulous; receptacle-tube 0·5–1 mm. long, lobes narrow, 1–5 mm. long; petals 0·5–1·3 cm. long.
    Fruits
    Fruit 2·5–6·2 × 1·8–2·8 cm., ovoid, rostrate, tuberculate, bright orange-red or red, dehiscent into 3 valves; fruit-stalk 0·6–2·0 cm. long.
    Seeds
    Seeds 8·5–11·2 × 5–6·6 × 2–3 mm., enveloped in red foetid pulp, ovate in outline, more or less compressed, faces with slightly depressed centres and elevated sculptured edges; margins grooved.
    [FTEA]

    Cucurbitaceae, C. Jeffrey. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1967

    Habit
    Climber or trailer to 1.5 m.
    Stem
    Stems herbaceous, glabrous or pubescent.
    Leaves
    Leaf-blade broadly ovate, reniform or orbicular in outline, cordate, usually somewhat pubescent, 10–90 mm. long, 12–120 mm. broad, palmately 3–5-lobed to about the middle or below, with the lobes broadly ovate- or elliptic-rhombic in outline, narrowed below, sharply sinuate-dentate or dentate-lobulate and the apices and marginal teeth apiculate; petiole pubescent, 4–60 mm. long.
    Tendrils
    Tendrils simple.
    Flowers
    Monoecious. Female flowers with peduncle up to 1.5 mm. long bearing a small apical ovate bract (up to 2 × 2 mm.); pedicel 4–5 mm. long, pubescent; ovary fusiform and beaked, 6.5–7 mm. long, ± 3 mm. across, puberulous, with longitudinal rows of small tubercles; receptacle-tube shallow; lobes narrow, 2.5–5 mm. long; petals rounded-apiculate, ± 8 mm. long and 5 mm. broad. Male flowers solitary; peduncle 17–35 mm. long, bearing an apical 4–18 mm. long 9–34 mm. broad broadly ovate-cordate apiculate veined bract; pedicels 4–5 mm. long, ± pubescent; receptacle-tube obconic, 2 mm. long; lobes ovate-acuminate, acute, green, 5–7 mm. long; petals yellow with green veins, 10–15 mm. long, 8–12 mm, broad; stamens 3.
    Male
    Male flowers solitary; peduncle 17–35 mm. long, bearing an apical 4–18 mm. long 9–34 mm. broad broadly ovate-cordate apiculate veined bract; pedicels 4–5 mm. long, ± pubescent; receptacle-tube obconic, 2 mm. long; lobes ovate-acuminate, acute, green, 5–7 mm. long; petals yellow with green veins, 10–15 mm. long, 8–12 mm, broad; stamens 3.
    Female
    Female flowers with peduncle up to 1.5 mm. long bearing a small apical ovate bract (up to 2 × 2 mm.); pedicel 4–5 mm. long, pubescent; ovary fusiform and beaked, 6.5–7 mm. long, ± 3 mm. across, puberulous, with longitudinal rows of small tubercles; receptacle-tube shallow; lobes narrow, 2.5–5 mm. long; petals rounded-apiculate, ± 8 mm. long and 5 mm. broad.
    Fruits
    Fruit on a 10–20 mm. long stalk, orange-red, ovoid-ellipsoid, ± 26–35 mm. long and 19–25 mm. across, terete or slightly ridged, ornamented with longitudinal rows of small tubercles.
    Seeds
    Seeds ovate-oblong in outline, 9–11 × 5–6 × 2.5–3 mm.; testa sculptured; margins 2-grooved.
    Habitat
    Coastal bushland on sand
    Distribution
    widespread in the drier parts of South Africa and tropical Africa, Arabia, tropical Asia and Australiatropical America probably by introduction T6 Z

    Images

    Distribution

    Native to:

    Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina, Cameroon, Cape Provinces, Caprivi Strip, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Northern Provinces, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

    Introduced into:

    Alabama, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Florida, Haiti, India, Leeward Is., Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Puerto Rico, Texas, Windward Is.

    Common Names

    English
    African cucumber, Balsam apple, Balsam pear, Balsamina

    Momordica balsamina L. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    South Africa K000312917
    K000310631
    K000310633
    K000037286
    Wild, H. [28263], Zimbabwe 1740.000
    Richards, H.M. [14714], Botswana 6595.000
    Angus, A. [1041], Zambia 8101.000
    Ash, J. [1123], Ethiopia 37799.000
    Schweinfurth, G. [96], Sudan K000310632
    Spruce, R. [6461], Peru K000006229
    Burke, South Africa K000312918
    s.coll. [Cat. no. 6741], India K001124708
    s.coll. [Cat. no. 6741] K001124709
    s.coll. [Cat. no. 6741] K001124710
    Schinz, H. [310], Namibia Momordica schinzii K000312914

    First published in Sp. Pl.: 1009 (1753)

    Accepted by

    • Darbyshire, I., Kordofani, M., Farag, I., Candiga, R. & Pickering, H. (eds.) (2015). The Plants of Sudan and South Sudan: 1-400. Kew publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Flora of North America Editorial Committee (2015). Flora of North America North of Mexico 6: 1-468. Oxford University Press, New York, Oxford.
    • Patzelt, A., Harrison, T., Knees, S.G. & Hartley, L.A. (2014). Studies in the flora of Arabia: XXXI. New records from the Sultanate of Oman Edinburgh Journal of Botany 71: 161-180.
    • Shaheen, H., Qureshi, R., Akram, A., Gulfraz, M. & Potter, D. (2014). A preliminary floristic checklist of Thal desert Punjab, Pakistan Pakistn Journal of Botany 46: 13-18.
    • Rebnner, S.S. & Pandey, A.K. (2013). The Cucurbitaceae of India: Accepted names, synonyms, geographic distribution, and information on images and DNA sequences PhytoKeys 20: 53-118.
    • Allred, K.W. (2012). Flora Neomexicana, ed. 2, 1: 1-599. Range Science Herbarium, Las Cruces, New Mexico.
    • Meena, S.L. (2012). A checklist of the vascular plants of Banaskantha district, Gujarat, India Nelumbo 54: 39-91.
    • Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. & Strong, M.T. (2012). Catalogue of seed plants of the West Indies Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 98: 1-1192.
    • Onana, J.M. (2011). The vascular plants of Cameroon a taxonomic checklist with IUCN assessments: 1-195. National herbarium of Cameroon, Yaoundé.
    • Figueiredo, E. & Smith, G.F. (2008). Plants of Angola Strelitzia 22: 1-279. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
    • Akoègninou, A., van der Burg, W.J. & van der Maesen, L.J.G. (eds.) (2006). Flore Analytique du Bénin: 1-1034. Backhuys Publishers.
    • Miller, A.G. & Morris, M. (2004). Ethnoflora of Soqotra Archipelago: 1-759. The Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.
    • Germishuizen, G. & Meyer, N.L. (eds.) (2003). Plants of Southern Africa an annotated checklist Strelitzia 14: 1-1231. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
    • Wood, J.R.I. (1997). A handbook of the Yemen Flora: 1-434. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Edwards, S., Tadesse, M. & Hedberg, I. (eds.) (1995). Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea 2(2): 1-456. The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia & The Department of Systematic Botany, Upps.
    • Brako, L. & Zarucchi, J.L. (1993). Catalogue of the Flowering Plants and Gymnosperms of Peru Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 45: i-xl, 1-1286. Missouri Botanical Garden.
    • Ghazanfar, S.A. (1992). An Annotated Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Oman and their Vernacular names Scripta Botanica Belgica 2: 1-153.
    • Barry, J. P. & Celles, J.S. (1991). Flore de Mauritanie 1: 1-359. Centre Regional de Documentation Pedagogique, Nice.
    • Lebrun, J.p., Toutain, B., Gaston, A. & Boudet, G. (1991). Catalogue des Plantes Vasculaires du Burkina Faso: 1-341. Institut d' Elevage et de Médecine Vétérinaire des Pays Tropicaux, Maisons Alfort.
    • Boudet, G., Lebrun, J.P. & Demange, R. (1986). Catalogue des plantes vasculaires du Mali: 1-465. Etudes d'Elevage et de Médecine Vétérinaire des Pays Tropicaux.
    • Launert, E. (ed.) (1978). Flora Zambesiaca 4: 1-658. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Peyre de Fabregues, B. & Lebrun, J.-P. (1976). Catalogue des Plantes Vascularies du Niger: 1-433. Institut d' Elevage et de Médecine Vétérinaire des Pays Tropicaux, Maisons Alfort.
    • Jeffrey, C. (1967). Flora of Tropical East Africa, Cucurbitaceae: 1-156.
    • Hutchinson, J., Dalziel, J.M. & Keay, R.W.J. (1954-1958). Flora of West Tropical Africa, ed. 2, 1: 1-828.

    Literature

    Flora of West Tropical Africa
    • Cogn. & Harms in Engl. Pflanzenr. Cucurbit. 2: 28
    • Chev. Bot. 290.
    • —F.T.A. 2: 537
    Kew Backbone Distributions
    • Darbyshire, I., Kordofani, M., Farag, I., Candiga, R. & Pickering, H. (eds.) (2015). The Plants of Sudan and South Sudan: 1-400. Kew publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Flora of North America Editorial Committee (2015). Flora of North America North of Mexico 6: 1-468. Oxford University Press, New York, Oxford.
    • Patzelt, A., Harrison, T., Knees, S.G. & Hartley, L.A. (2014). Studies in the flora of Arabia: XXXI. New records from the Sultanate of Oman Edinburgh Journal of Botany 71: 161-180.
    • Shaheen, H., Qureshi, R., Akram, A., Gulfraz, M. & Potter, D. (2014). A preliminary floristic checklist of Thal desert Punjab, Pakistan Pakistn Journal of Botany 46: 13-18.
    • Rebnner, S.S. & Pandey, A.K. (2013). The Cucurbitaceae of India: Accepted names, synonyms, geographic distribution, and information on images and DNA sequences PhytoKeys 20: 53-118.
    • Allred, K.W. (2012). Flora Neomexicana, ed. 2, 1: 1-599. Range Science Herbarium, Las Cruces, New Mexico.
    • Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. & Strong, M.T. (2012). Catalogue of seed plants of the West Indies Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 98: 1-1192.
    • Onana, J.M. (2011). The vascular plants of Cameroon a taxonomic checklist with IUCN assessments: 1-195. National herbarium of Cameroon, Yaoundé.
    • Figueiredo, E. & Smith, G.F. (2008). Plants of Angola Strelitzia 22: 1-279. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
    • Akoègninou, A., van der Burg, W.J. & van der Maesen, L.J.G. (eds.) (2006). Flore Analytique du Bénin: 1-1034. Backhuys Publishers.
    • Germishuizen, G. & Meyer, N.L. (eds.) (2003). Plants of Southern Africa an annotated checklist Strelitzia 14: 1-1231. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
    • Collenette, S. (1999). Wildflowers of Saudi Arabia: 1-799. National commission for wildlife conservation and development (NCWCD), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
    • Wood, J.R.I. (1997). A handbook of the Yemen Flora: 1-434. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Edwards, S., Tadesse, M. & Hedberg, I. (eds.) (1995). Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea 2(2): 1-456. The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia & The Department of Systematic Botany, Upps.
    • Brako, L. & Zarucchi, J.L. (1993). Catalogue of the Flowering Plants and Gymnosperms of Peru Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 45: i-xl, 1-1286. Missouri Botanical Garden.
    • Barry, J. P. & Celles, J.S. (1991). Flore de Mauritanie 1: 1-359. Centre Regional de Documentation Pedagogique, Nice.
    • Lebrun, J.p., Toutain, B., Gaston, A. & Boudet, G. (1991). Catalogue des Plantes Vasculaires du Burkina Faso: 1-341. Institut d' Elevage et de Médecine Vétérinaire des Pays Tropicaux, Maisons Alfort.
    • Boudet, G., Lebrun, J.P. & Demange, R. (1986). Catalogue des plantes vasculaires du Mali: 1-465. Etudes d'Elevage et de Médecine Vétérinaire des Pays Tropicaux.
    • Launert, E. (ed.) (1978). Flora Zambesiaca 4: 1-658. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Peyre de Fabregues, B. & Lebrun, J.-P. (1976). Catalogue des Plantes Vascularies du Niger: 1-433. Institut d' Elevage et de Médecine Vétérinaire des Pays Tropicaux, Maisons Alfort.
    • Quézel, P. (1958). Mission Botanique au Tibesti: 1-357. Université d'Alger.
    • Hutchinson, J., Dalziel, J.M. & Keay, R.W.J. (1954-1958). Flora of West Tropical Africa, ed. 2, 1: 1-828.
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    • A. Meeuse in Bothalia 8: 49 (1962).
    • R. & A. Fernandes in Mem. Junta Invest. Ultram., sér. 2, 34: 72 (1962).
    • Chakrav., Monogr. Indian Cucurbitac.: 90 (1959).
    • Keay, Flora of West Tropical Africa ed. 2, 1: 212 (1954).
    • F. W. Andr., The Flowering Plants of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan 1: 181, fig. 106 (1950).
    • Hassib, Cucurbitac. in Egypt: 47, fig. 20 (1938).
    • Hutch. & Dalz., Flora of West Tropical Africa 1: 181 (1927)
    • Burtt Davy, Man. Fl. Pl. Ferns Transv. 1: 227 (1926).
    • Hiern, Cat. Welw. Afr. Pl. 2: 394 (1898).
    • Hook. f. in Flora of Tropical Africa 2: 537 (1871).
    • Sonder in Fl. Cap. 2: 491 (1862).
    • L., Sp. Pl.: 1009 (1753).

    Sources

    Art and Illustrations in Digifolia
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    Flora Zambesiaca
    Flora Zambesiaca
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    Flora of West Tropical Africa
    Flora of West Tropical Africa
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet http://www.kew.org/herbcat [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2018. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2018. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Plants and People Africa
    Common Names from Plants and People Africa http://www.plantsandpeopleafrica.com/
    © Plants and People Africa http://www.plantsandpeopleafrica.com http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/