Momordica cochinchinensis

Description

Stout perennial climber to 20 m long, all parts (sub)glabrous, older bark pale, warty and fissured; Leaves: Flowers somewhat hairy, in male solitary, or several in a bracteate raceme to 5(-10) cm long; Fruit ripening orange-red, irregularly bursting, ovoid, (broadly) ellipsoid or subglobose, (6-)10-15(-20) by (4-)6-10(-15) cm, apex ± pointed, pericarp mostly densely soft tuberculate or soft-spiny (spines to 10 mm long), rarely almost smooth; Seeds numerous, brown or grey-black, circular, elliptic, or ovate, 15-30 mm across, 5-8 mm thick, margin coarsely undulate-tubercled;

Distribution

Asia-Tropical:, Borneopresent; Jawa (Jawapresent); Malaya (Peninsular Malaysiapresent, Singaporeabsent); Maluku (Malukupresent); New Guineapresent; Philippines (Philippinespresent); Sri Lanka (Sri Lankaabsent); Sulawesi (Sulawesipresent); Sumatera (Sumaterapresent) Kebun Raya, Bogor: present Papua New Guinea: present South India: absent West Papua: present from NE India and South China, through Indo-China to North Australia and into the Pacific: present
Widespread, from NE India and South China, through Indo-China to North Australia and into the Pacific; absent from South India and Sri Lanka; in Malesia: Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo, Java (Kebun Raya, Bogor, probably an old introduction in a waste shrubby garden corner), Philippines, Sulawesi, Moluccas, New Guinea (West Papua, and Papua New Guinea); not known from Singapore.

Morphology

2 Momordica cochinchinensis is accepted as a variable, widely distributed species. The species is particularly heterophyllous. Variable characters used as criteria for describing species now considered as synonyms concern the blade (either entire, lobed or unlobed, or foliolate), the presence or absence of glands on the petioles, the flowers being either solitary or grouped in short raceme-like inflorescences (short-shoots), and also the size (and shape) of the fruit and their mode of ornamentation with soft warts or spines. The length of the fruit stalk (peduncle plus fruiting pedicel) is very variable. How this relates to the Malesian populations needs further investigation. The synonym M. suringarii has mainly 3-foliolate leaves. 1 The roots are tuberous.

Uses

Fruits (unripe) are used as vegetable, or medicinal, especially by the Vietnamese.

Citation

Gagnep. - in Fl. Indo-Chine. 1921: 1072
Spreng. - in Fl. Thailand. 2008: f. 21
Cogn. & Harms - in Engl., Pflanzenr. 88. 1924: 34
Merr., Sp. Blancoan. 1918: 371
Blanco, Fl. Filip., ed. 2. 1845: 531
I.Telford - in Fl. Austr. 1982: 167
Merr., Enum. Born. 1921: 584
W.J.de Wilde & Duyfjes - in Bot. Zhurn. (Moscow & St. Petersburg). 2002: 137
Spreng. - in Sandakania. 2008 ‘2007’: 75
M.E.C.Reyes, Gildemacher & G.J.Jansen - in PROSEA. 1994: 206
Ridl. - in Fl. Malay Penin. 1922: 848
Cogn. - in A.DC. & C.DC., Monogr. Phan. 3. 1881: incl. var. villosa
Cogn. & Harms - in Engl., Pflanzenr. 88. 1924: 23
Merr., Sp. Blancoan. 1918: 371
Keraudren - in Aubrév. & J.-F.Leroy, Fl. Cambodge, Laos & Vietnam 15. 1975: f. 8
Blanco - in Fl. Filip., ed. 3. 1879: 53
Blanco - in Fl. Filip., ed. 3. 1879: t. 380
Craib - in Fl. Siam. 1931: 758
Craib - in Fl. Siam. 1931: 758

Synonymy

Momordica cochinchinensis (Lour.) Spreng. in Syst. Veg. 3: 14. 1826
  • Muricia cochinchinensis Lour. in Fl. Cochinch. 2: 596. 1790
    • Holotype: Loureiro s.n. (BM).
  • =Momordica sphaeroidea Blanco, Fl. Filip.: 771. 1837
    • Isotype: Merrill: Species Blancoanae 818 (L).
    • Type: Merrill: Species Blancoanae 818 (US).
    • Type: Merrill: Species Blancoanae 818.
  • =Passiflora saponaria Blanco, Fl. Filip.: 650. 1837
  • Modecca? saponaria Blanco, Fl. Filip., ed. 2: 453. 1845
    • Isotype: Merril Species Blancoanae 86 (L).
    • Type: Merril Species Blancoanae 86 (US).
    • Type: Merril Species Blancoanae 86.
  • =Momordica cochinchinensis var. minor Cogn. in A.DC. & C.DC., Monogr. Phan. 3: 446. 1881
    • Type: Beccari PP 608 (FI).
    • Type: Beccari PP 608.
  • =Momordica ovata Cogn. in A.DC. & C.DC., Monogr. Phan. 3: 446. 1881
    • Type: Cuming 1780 (P).
    • Type: Cuming 1780.
  • =Momordica suringarii Cogn. in A.DC. & C.DC., Monogr. Phan. 3: 434. 1881
    • Type: Korthals s.n. (L).
    • Type: Korthals s.n.
  • =Momordica macrophylla Gage in Rec. Bot. Surv. India 3: 61. 1908
    • Type: Mokim 253 (CAL).
    • Type: Mokim 253.
    • Type: Mokim 253.