The fruits of the Bitter gourd (or Bitter melon) are eaten as a vegetable. As can be expected from the name, the bitter gourd has a very bitter taste.
Basic information and facts
The origin of bittergourd is not known, but it originates of the tropics.
Bittergourd is found in many tropical countries including the Indian subcontinent (India, nepal, etc.), Southeast Asia, China, Africa, South America, and the Caribbean.
Annual, biennial, or perennial:
Bittergourd is a perennial vine.
Bitter gourd is a vine. The climbing vines can be up to 10 meters long. It is grown for its edible fruit.
Yellow flowers of about 3 cm diameter. The flowers open just for one day. The plant has separate male and female flowers.
The size of the leaves is 2.5 to 10 cm by 3 to 12 cm. Leaves have 3 to 9 clear lobes.
The fruit of the bitter gourd is one of the most bitter vegetables. It looks like a green warty cucumber. Depending on the variety the size may vary from 6 to 30 centimeters. When the fruits get ripe they turn orange and split open, exposing the seeds covered in a red pulp.
Climate and weather:
Bitter gourd is a tropical and subtropical plant. It prefers hot and humid climates.
Bittergourd is pollinated by insects. Growers of bittergourd can use hand pollination.
Bittergourd is usually grown on trellis. Vines can reach a length of 10 meters.
Bitter gourd is propagated through direct seeding and transplanting.
Several insects attack bittergourd, including fruit flies.
Bittergourd is usually harvested by hand picking of the fruits when they are still green.
Bittergourd is eaten as a vegetable, for example in stir-fries, in soups, cooked in coconut milk, or steamed.
Bittergourd is also used in Asian traditional medicine. It stimulates digestion.
Proverbs and Quotes
- Of a bitter gourd use not even the seed. (= a warning against children of bad people)