1. Momordica Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1009. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 440. 1754.
Balsam-apple, bitter melon, cundeamor [Latin mordicus, biting, alluding to sculptured seed surfaces and margins, appearing as though bitten] Balsam-apple, bitter melon, cundeamor [Latin mordicus, biting, alluding to sculptured seed surfaces and margins, appearing as though bitten]
Plants annual [perennial], monoecious [dioecious], climbing or trailing; stems glabrous or hairy; roots fibrous; tendrils unbranched [2-branched]. Leaves simple or compound; blade broadly ovate or reniform to orbiculate, palmately 3–7[–9]-lobed, usually pedate, lobes broadly ovate, rhombic-ovate, ovate-oblong, or ovate-elliptic, margins coarsely and widely dentate to crenate-dentate or sinuate-dentate, [mucronulate-dentate or remotely denticulate], surfaces eglandular. Inflorescences: staminate flowers solitary, [corymbose, racemose, or umbellate], axillary; pistillate flowers solitary, from different axils than staminate; <peduncles erect at apex>; bracts <persistent>, ovate-cordate, reniform, or orbiculate-cordate [ovate, rhombic-ovate]. Flowers: hypanthium obconic; sepals 5, linear to ovate-lanceolate or ovate-acuminate; petals 5, distinct, yellow to bright yellow [greenish yellow], obovate or oblong [suborbiculate], [5–]7–25[–32] mm, glabrous, corolla rotate to broadly and shallowly campanulate. Staminate flowers: stamens (2–)3; filaments inserted near hypanthium rim, staminodes absent or 3, glandular. Fruits berrylike or capsular, <pendent>, red or red-orange to yellow-orange, oblong-fusiform to ellipsoidal, cylindric or ovoid, beaked, fleshy, thick-walled, irregularly tuberculate to muricate, muriculate, or irregularly smooth-ridged, <glabrous>, apically dehiscent by 3 valves [indehiscent or irregularly dehiscent]. Seeds 10–50, oblong to ovoid-oblong beyond narrowed base, turgid or flattened, red-arillate, margins grooved, surfaces smooth or sculptured. x = 11, 14.
Species 59 (2 in the flora): introduced; Asia, Africa, Australia; introduced also in Mexico, West Indies, South America, Europe, se Asia, Pacific Islands, Australia.
SELECTED REFERENCE Schaefer, H. and S. S. Renner. 2010. A three-genome phylogeny of Momordica (Cucurbitaceae) suggests seven returns from dioecy to monoecy and recent long-distance dispersal to Asia. Molec. Phylogen. Evol. 54: 553–560.