Description: Small to rather large climbers or trailers, monoecious [or dioecious].
Leaves palmately 3–7-lobed [or pedately compound, 3–15-foliolate]. Tendrils simple [or 2-branched, sometimes spinose]. Male flowers usually solitary, bracteate; female flowers solitary, usually smaller than males, bracts sometimes absent. Hypanthium shallow. Petals 5, free, 1–3 with incurved scales inside at base, white or yellow. Stamens 3, anthers free or fused; disc absent. Female flowers with 0 or 3 staminodes. Ovules numerous; stigmas 3, 2-lobed.
Fruit fleshy, ovoid to ellipsoid, indehiscent or dehiscing irregularly by 3 valves; seeds few to many, ovate, sculptured.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 45 species, tropical Africa, Asia, Malesia, Australia. Australia: 3 species (native), Qld, N.S.W., N.T., S.A., W.A.
Text by G. J. Harden
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Plants pubescent or glabrescent; male flowers with bract towards base of flowering stalk, sometimes near middle; fruit dehiscing by 3 valves||Momordica charantia|
|Plants glabrous; male flowers with bract towards top of stalk; fruit indehiscent||Momordica balsamina|