1. Momordica charantia Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1009. 1753.
苦瓜 ku gua
Cucumis argyi H. Léveillé; Momordica chinensis Sprengel; M. indica Linnaeus; M. sinensis Sprengel; Sicyos fauriei H. Léveillé.
Plants annual, scandent, many branched; stem and branches pubescent. Tendrils to 20 cm, puberulent, simple. Petiole slender, 4-6 cm, white pubescent at first, glabrescent; leaf blade ovate-reniform or suborbicular, 4-12 × 4-12 cm, membranous, puberulent on veins, 5-7-partite; lobes ovate-oblong, veins palmate, margin crenate or irregularly lobed, apex obtuse or acute; sinus semicircular. Plants monoecious. Male flowers solitary in axils of leaves; pedicel slender, 3-7 cm, puberulent, with a median bract; bract reniform or orbicular, 5-15 mm, entire, both surfaces puberulent; calyx segments ovate-lanceolate, 4-6 × 2-3 mm, white pubescent, apex acute; corolla yellow; segments obovate, 15-20 × 8-12 mm, pubescent, obtuse or retuse; stamens 3, free; anther cells conduplicate. Female flowers solitary; pedicel 10-12 cm, with a bract at base; ovary fusiform, densely verrucose; stigmas expanded, 2-lobed. Fruit orange when mature, fusiform or cylindric, 10-20 cm, verrucose, 3-valved from apex. Seeds numerous, oblong, 15-20 × 10-15 cm. Fl. and fr. May-Oct.
Commonly cultivated in China [pantropical, also cultivated in temperate and tropical regions].
The fruit is used as a vegetable; all parts of the plant are used medicinally.