Momordica balsamina

Momordica balsamina

Momordica balsamina also known as the Balsam Apple, or Southern Balsampear or simply Balsam Pear, is a curious, tendril-bearing annual vine native to the tropical regions of Africa, introduced and invasive in Asia, Australia, and Central America. Although the pale yellow, deeply veined flowers of the Balsam Apple have a subtle beauty, its round, somewhat warty, bright orange fruits, or "Apples", are its most distinguishing feature. When ripe, the fruits burst apart, revealing numerous seeds covered with a brilliant scarlet, extremely sticky coating. The Balsam Apple was introduced into Europe by 1568 and was used medicinally to treat wounds. In 1810 Thomas Jefferson planted this vine in his flower borders at Monticello along with larkspur, poppies, and nutmeg Plant. In the Philippines it is called "ampalaya" by the Tagalogs. It is a popular vegetable in the island of Luzon where it is mixed with other vegetables to make a stew. It is also sauteed with either shrimp, meat, pork, chicken and served with thick gravy.


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