Monday, June 7, 2010

Momordica

Momordica is a genus of about 80 species of annual or perennial herbaceous climber belong to the family Cucurbitaceae., natives to tropical and subtropical Africa, Asia and Australia.

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Momordica charantia, bitter gourd 苦瓜is native to Africa, but long been used in Chinese folk medicine. The fruit has a distinct warty looking exterior with an oblong shape. It is hollow in cross-section, with a relatively thin layer of flesh surrounding a central seed cavity filled with large flat seeds and pith. Seeds and pith appear white in unripe fruits, ripening to red.

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Bitter gourd comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. The typical Chinese phenotype is 20 – 30 cm long. The Indian type has a narrower shape with ridges surface. Some with miniature fruit of only 8 – 10 cm in length.

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The bitter taste is from momordicin , which is said to have a stomachic effect

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