Monday, 8 August 2016



Adds its smiling touch to life without making a fuss.

Momordica charantia

Momordica charantia, known as bitter melon, bitter gourd, bitter squash, or balsam-pear, has names in other languages which have entered English as loanwords, e.g. goya from Okinawan and karela from Sanskrit.

Small slightly fragrant light yellow saucer-shaped flower with five soft rounded petals and a tiny centre of light orange anthers; borne singly from the leaf axils. An annual vine with deeply lobed leaves and warty edible fruit.

Common name: Bitter Gourd • Assamese: কেৰেলা karela • Bengali: করলা karala • Gujarati: કારેલું karelu • Hindi: करेला Karela, कठिल्ल kathilla, परारु poraru • Kannada: ಹಾಗಲಕಾಯಿ haagalakaay •Konkani: काराते kaaraate • Malayalam: കയ്‌പ്പ kayppa, പാവയ്ക്ക pavaykka • Manipuri: কারোন অখাবী Karon akhabi • Marathi: आंबलें ambalem, कारली karali, कारेती kareti • Mizo: changkha • Nepali: अमला amala, करेलो karelo • Oriya: changkha • Sanskrit: कारवेल्लकःkaarvellakah, कटिल्लः kathillah, परारु paraaru, सुषवी sushavi, ऊर्ध्वासितः urdhvaasitah • Tamil: இராசவள்ளி iraca-valli, பாகற்காய் pAgakkai • Telugu: కాకర kakara • Urdu: کريلا karela
Botanical name: Momordica charantia Family: Cucurbitaceae (Pumpkin family)
Synonyms: Momordica muricata, Momordica zeylanica, Momordica charantia var. muricata

It is a tropical and subtropical vine of the family Cucurbitaceae, widely grown in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean for its edible fruit. Its many varieties differ substantially in the shape and bitterness of the fruit.

Bitter melon originated in India and was introduced into China in the 14th century.

Bitter Gourd is a herbaceous, tendril-bearing vine, growing up to 5 m. It bears simple, alternate leaves 4-12 cm across, with 3-7 deeply separated lobes. Each plant bears separate yellow male and female flowers, about 2-3 cm in diameter. Male flowers, more numerous, have a yellow center and conical base, while female flowers have a green center and small bump at the base. The fruit has a distinct warty looking exterior and an oblong shape. It is hollow in cross-section, with a relatively thin layer of flesh surrounding a central seed cavity filled with large flat seeds and pith. Seeds and pith appear white in unripe fruits. The fruit is most often eaten green. Although it can also be eaten when it has started to ripen and turn yellowish, it becomes more bitter as it ripens. When the fruit ripens and turns orange and mushy, it is too bitter to eat. It splits into segments which curl back dramatically to expose seeds covered in bright red pulp.

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