Momordica balsamina also known as the Balsam Apple, Cundeamor, or Southern Balsam pear or simply Balsam Pear, is a curious, tendril-bearing annual vine native to the tropical regions of Africa. 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. While the leaves are safe to eat, the seeds can be toxic if too many are ingested. Although they do sell Balsam supplements, like all things moderation is key. In Mozambique, this plant is known as cacana and in rural areas it is used as an anti-malarial. People usually drink water from its boiled leaves and young fruit to treat malaria.
Perennial climber, leaf margins irregularly toothed, orange-red knobbed fruit, edible. Sow Spring.
USDA Zone - 9
Season to Sow - Spring
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