Balsam Apple

11 Oct

Balsam Apple is not a native vine, but is so prevalent in central & south Florida I decided to post it. It grows wild in my yard, quickly covering my desired plants and smothering out their light. In just one season it can grow 20 to 30′ across a fence or up a tree. When pulled out by hand, it leaves a smelly residue on your hands. It has about 1″ pale yellow flowers followed by small green gourd-like fruits that eventually turn bright orange. When fully ripe, they split to reveal bright red seeds.

Some say the fruit is edible & has medicinal properties- others say it is toxic, and shouldn’t be eaten.

 

Balsam Apple - Momordica charantia

 

 

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3 Responses to “Balsam Apple”

  1. Suwannee Refugee October 12, 2010 at 8:17 pm #

    What’s the difference between this and the bitter melon? They look a lot alike.

  2. FlaScenics October 13, 2010 at 10:45 am #

    My personal opinion is that they are different plants.
    There is a lot of confusion on the net about this wild plant being the same as bitter melon. But the bitter melon used for medicinal purposes & cultivated as such, appears to have a larger, longer cucumber looking fruit.
    Here is the best & most trustworthy information I could find regarding it:
    http://okeechobee.ifas.ufl.edu/News%20columns/Balsam%20Apple.htm

  3. jmama January 11, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    This used to grow all over the chain link fence at my Grandma’s house. I remember being a little girl, and picking it. She always told me not to eat it. I get happy whenever I see this growing somewhere, even though I know some people say it’s a nuisance.

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