The tropical and subtropical fruit grows delicate foliage and exotic-looking fruits, its light-green puckered foliage being divided into lacy lobes, a silvery down giving the young growth a silken sheen and it will climb to 6 to 8 feet or more. Pale green, warty fruits ripen to brilliant orange, and later the outer flesh of the fruit splits at the base, curling upwards resembling the roof of a pagoda. Ornamental seeds covered in lipstick-red pulp dangle from inside. In natural medicine it is reputed to be useful in gout, rheumatism, and subacute cases of the spleen and liver diseases and is also supposed to purify blood and dissipate melancholia and gross humours. It has also been shown to have hypoglycaemic properties (anti-diabetic) in animal as well as human studies. It is widely grown in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean for its edible fruit, some varieties being amongst the most bitter of all fruits, its many varieties differing substantially in the shape and bitterness of the fruit.
For best results, sow seeds in good light at any time onto a good soil-based compost. Cover the seeds with fine grit or compost to approximately their own depth. We recommend germinating at 15 to 20 degrees C. Seeds should ideally germinate in between 3 and 6 weeks although they make take considerably longer. Pot on seedlings before planting out in a well-drained spot with climbing support.
Common name:Balsam Apple, Bitter gourd. Bitter Melon, Bitter squash, Aampalaya, arsorossie, balsam pear, balsam
Classification:Greenhouse climber, Half hardy climber
Packet Content:8 large seeds (Approx)