It's time to read and vote for your favorite article in the 2013 Write-Off Contest! The four finalist's articles are featured in the May 13 newsletter and can be found through this link. Hurry! Voting ends May 18.
On Jun 23, 2012, Harris12 from Cape Coral, FL wrote:
This weed is out of control in my Cape Coral Fl yard. We bought this house last year and discovered it everywhere. I pull the small saplings but more still come back. We found the largest roots of the source and pulled but it still comes back. Heard roundup is great and it does work, but will kill the rest of my garden too. This weed is not recommended to anyone, unless you plan on your entire yard, house, trees, lanai screen, bushes and flowers to be covered in it.
On May 4, 2012, Jean_Gilles from Fern Park, FL wrote:
The person that lives in O-Town please let me know where you're located so can get some leaves, lol. You might not like it, but I love it!! lol. Is there a way we can meet up. I live in Fern Park/Casselberry. If that's alright with you :-)
On Sep 1, 2011, O_Town from Winter Park, FL wrote:
I can't believe some say this plant is good for skin rashes, ect. This vine gives me a rash everytime I weed eat it. I do not like this vine, it takes over my back fence every year and the best I can do is trim it down so it doesn't take over everything. I am suffering right now with itchy neck and arms, and I do not have sensitive skin. But this plant does it everytime. So people with sensitive skin may want to be careful when pulling, or trimming them.
On Aug 22, 2010, itchycooler1 from Winter Haven, FL wrote:
I must agree with the reader. "Cerasse" as it is called in my neighborhood, is hard to get rid of, especially if you allow the orange pods to burst and drop the seeds (next seasons plants) onto the ground. I use to make tea of the stuff, but sometime, i don't have the time so now i just pull some (unsprayed) off the hedges or fence, wash it, chew and swallow. It does curb the appetite and restrict sweet tooth cravings. It's so bitter, it should be good for something! Neighbors of mine with blood sugar problems, usually drink the tea to control the insulin. One Jamacian neighbor of mine said to just boil everything, it do you know harm he said so i did. I've had an on-off (kinda' like a diet) use for maybe seven years.
Please do not plant this vine anywhere in Florida. It is highly invasive. It came to my yard as a weed and it covers everything in a matter of days. I have worked hours and hours to remove every root and it just keeps coming back. I thought I won when it disappeared the first winter (2 years ago), but it just goes dormant in winter. Nothing stops it permanently unless you want to kill everything in your garden with Roundup.
On Nov 1, 2007, passiflora07 from Fern Park, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:
I am in a constant battle with this plant. If left alone, it will cover everything in my yard with no mercy! Unfortunately it especially loves to grow in and on my large bougainvilleas. That is a painful chore...
On Sep 20, 2007, herbs501 from Hallettsville, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
This is a lovely annual vine to cover a structure or fence quickly. The flowers are light yellow, about an inch across, with the pods forming later. The leaves are somewhat cut, a medium green in color. In my area it reseeds prolifically, and can be a pest. I like it, though.
There are many references to this plant's medicinal and food use in parts of Africa. More research needs to be done on this plant to find out about its usefulness.
On May 21, 2004, jcedw1 from Cincinnati, OH wrote:
This plant is used by many families of German ancestory here in Ohio as a medecine. I have found two recipes using the fruit of this plant cut up mixed with whiskey. This makes a lumpy liquid that is best for blisters or any open cut really. I am searching for the best way to start the seeds. My older generation has passed on before I learned enough on how to start this plant. I have the seeds but am not having much success in starting this vining plant.
On Jul 7, 2003, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:
The seeds are brown covered with a red fleshy substance (pulpy aril) that tastes similar to watermelon. It is delicious, and may help those with diabetes, but the seeds may give you an upset stomach if chewed.
I recommend reading Poisonous Plants and Animals of Florida and the Caribbean by David W. Nellis, published by Pineapple Press in Sarasota. There is a picture of this fruit on the cover. The author states that the seeds contain a purgative oil.
In India, as bitter as it is, this plant is commonly eaten as a vegetable.
Also, it can bring down blood sugar levels in diabetics and is used herbally for this purpose.
Added July 8, 2004
When cooked and eaten as food the seeds are usually removed. Like many things, it could be poisonous if you ingest too much and people wishing to use it medicinally should do so with adequate information.
On May 28, 2003, Nurafey from Polk City, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:
I think I am the only person that doesn't like these vines! They are invasive, and take over anywhere if not pulled up. I also think they have an unpleasant odor. I tend to find them trying to cover up other plants and take over fences. Sorry to say, but I pull these up any time I see a seedling trying to grow in my yard.
I live in Queensland, Australia and I first learnt about this plant by accident. We moved onto acreage about 4 months ago where the gardens had been very neglected etc...I started watering exisitng gardens and up popped these vines...we did not have a clue what they were until someone identified them for me.....
Our soil is not fertilised, is mainly a sandy loam and the vines are flourishing at a very rapid rate producing many flowers and abundant in fruit.
The bright yellow flowers, flower all day, every day here and we are experiencing new plants popping up everyday also...the pods when explode open to reveal the bright red pulpy seeds are dropping to the ground and they just keep forming new plants!!!
We do not look after these vines with any thing other than a watering every couple of days. They do not seem to be affected by any insects, parasites or the like....although our common black ant seems to love feeding on them when they have exploded.
In the four or five months that they have been growing and producing fruits - I have NOT encountered any dying off of the vine, no yellowing of leaves, the fruits seem to develope at many different sizes and also have noted that no birds or bees seem to favour this plant.
It is my way of thinking that if grown in different parts of the world...this plant will very much vary. I have detected no disease or fungus, no aphids or pests here in QLD, Australia (so far) that affects this plant.
On Aug 9, 2001, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:
Momordica belongs to the cucumber family, Cucurbitaceae. Momordica balsamina (aka Balsam Pear, Bitter Cucumber, La-Kwa, or Bitter Melon) is a tender, tropical perennial grown as an annual.
They are luscious, high-climbing vines with slightly fuzzy stems clothed with dark green, deeply lobed leaves and yellow, dioecious (male & female organs on separate flowers) flowers. The blossoms have 5 petals and are an inch in diameter.
The flowers open at sunrise and remain open for only one day. In regions with a long growing season, these vines produce handsome, oblong, lumpy fruits with light green to greenish-white, waxy skin. When they are mature, they take on an orange hue and the skin dries and splits open to expose bright scarlet arils (tissue) surrounding the brown or white seeds.
The fruit is 4 to 6 inches long, oblong, pointed and furrowed lengthwise. When full ripe it splits into 3 divisions. The immature fruit is boiled as a vegetable. A pulpy aril surrounds the seeds, which is esteemed by Orientals. The pulp of these seeds is eaten in the Orient, but these vines are mainly grown for ornament in the U.S.
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
, Pine, Colorado Atlantis, Florida Bartow, Florida Belleair Bluffs, Florida Big Pine Key, Florida Bithlo, Florida Boca Raton, Florida Brandon, Florida Cape Coral, Florida Cheval, Florida Chuluota, Florida Cocoa West, Florida Combee Settlement, Florida Coral Springs, Florida Cutler, Florida Cypress Gardens, Florida Delray Beach, Florida Dunedin, Florida Eustis, Florida Fern Park, Florida Fruitville, Florida Hollywood, Florida Indian River Shores, Florida Lakeland, Florida Melrose Park, Florida Merritt Island, Florida New Port Richey East, Florida Ocoee, Florida Orlando, Florida Rockledge, Florida St Petersburg, Florida (2 reports) Tampa, Florida Vero Beach, Florida West Palm Beach, Florida Winter Park, Florida Kihei, Hawaii Brown City, Michigan Lawrenceville, Ohio Lafayette, Tennessee Hallettsville, Texas