S. NAZIMUDDIN AND S. SHAHARYAR H. NAQVI
Momordica wallichii Roem.
Perennial climbers with unbranched, glabrous tendrils, dioecious. Root tuberous. Leaves broadly ovate, membranous, c. 6.0 x 5.0 cm, glabrous on both sides, deeply 3-5-lobed, lobes trianglular ovate or oblong, acute, with undulate or minutely remotely denticulate margin; petiole 1-3 cm long, puberulous. Male flowers 5-6 cm across, yellow, on 4-6 cm long peduncles; bracts large, sessile, entire, glabrous, often ciliated or villous on both surfaces, cucullate, suborbicular or reniform, partly enclosing the flower. Petals 2-3 x 1.5-2.5 cm, obtuse. Female flowers yellow, on c. 2.5 cm long, ebracteate or minutely bracteate peduncles; calyx lobes linear-lanceolate, 5-6 mm long, villous; corolla similar to male flowers. Ovary ovoid, covered with long and soft papillae. Fruit ovoid or ellipsoid, 3-5 cm long, 2-3.5 cm across, yellow when mature, densely covered with soft spines, shortly beaked (rostrate) at apex. Seeds somewhat compressed, 6-7 x 5-6 mm, irregularly corrugated.
Fl. Per.: July-October.
Holotype: India, Klein 768 (B-W 18027).
Distribution: Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Burma and China.
Fruits are often used as a vegetable. The seed kernels are used for the extraction of a semi-drying oil. The tuberous root is used in medicine. The roots of female plants are larger than those of the male and are preferred for medicinal uses. They are applied in bleeding piles and urinary complaints. The root paste is applied over the body as a sedative in fever.