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Bitter Melon

Momordica charantia


Vine with yellow flowers, ~ 23 mm across, with five symmetrically distributed petals. Fruits orange, ellipsoidal, major axis ~ 20 mm, minor axis ~ 15 mm, splitting. to reveal red pulp with embedded seeds.


Suburban neighborhood on insular tropical upland plateau.


Spotted in a garden atop koa (Acacia koa) leaf litter. The vine is rooted in a planter. The largest leaf on the vine has a width of ~ 97 mm; most leaves are noticeably smaller. The leaves, flowers and fruits of this spotting are much smaller than descriptions and pictures of this species found on line. For example bitter melon fruits can attain the size of cucumbers or zucchini. This specimen has produced fruits the size of grapes/strawberries/radishes. Perhaps when it grows . . .


Allen Hoof
Allen Hoof 6 years ago

Machi, thanks for the suggestions. I checked out both species. USDA has Momordica balsamina unreported in Hawaii.

Momordica charatia is certainly here, and a little checking revealed that the fruit size varies considerably.

My size concerns have been allayed. We've got an ID!

Allen Hoof
Allen Hoof 6 years ago

Whatever these flowers are, at least two have been fertilized and fruited, as shown in the fourth and fifth images, taken and uploaded March 3, 2015.

Allen Hoof
Spotted by
Allen Hoof

Spotted on Dec 20, 2014
Submitted on Dec 23, 2014

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