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Momordica balsamina

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Momordica balsamina is a tendril-bearing annual vine native to the tropical regions of Africa, introduced and invasive in Asia, Australia, and Central America. It has pale yellow, deeply veined flowers and round, somewhat warty, bright orange fruits, or "apples". 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.Template:Citation needed In 1810, Thomas Jefferson planted this vine in his flower borders at Monticello along with larkspur, poppies, and nutmeg.Template:Citation needed

The outer rind and the seeds of the fruit are poisonous.<ref name="handbookpoison">Template:Cite book</ref>


Momordica balsamina and the related Momordica charantia share some common names: African cucumber, balsam apple, and balsam pear. Other names for M. balsamina are balsamina or southern balsam pear.<ref name="crcnames">Template:Cite book</ref><ref name="vegetables">Template:Cite book</ref> It is known in Africa under a broad range of names, e.g. in Mozambique as cacana and in South Africa as nkaka.

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