Sorting Momordica names

Species on this page ( A = names approved by most authorities, s = approved as synonyms) :



Ecballium elaterium (L.) A. Rich

SYNONYM(S) : Momordica elaterium L.

DANISH : Æselagurk, Springagurk.

DUTCH : Springkomkommer, Spuitaugurk .

ENGLISH : Squirting cucumber.

FRENCH : Concombre d'âne, Momordique sauvage, Concombre sauvage.

GERMAN : Spritzgurke, Eselsgurke, Echte Springgurke .

ITALIAN : Schizzetto, Elaterio, Cocomero asinino, Momordica selvatica .

PORTUGUESE : Pepino-de-S.Gregório, Pepino-selvagem.

SPANISH : Chombrillo amargo, Pepino de lagarto, Pepinillo del diablo, Calabacilla amarga.

Momordica balsamina L.

SYNONYM(S) : Momordica muricata ?

CHINESE : Jiao ku gua.

ENGLISH : Balsam apple, Bitter apple.

FRENCH : Concombre balsamite, Courgette africaine, Pomme de merveille, Margose à pomme de merveille, Momordique à feuilles de vigne.

GERMAN : Balsamapfel.

ITALIAN : Pomo meraviglia.

JAPANESE : Not "Reishi" as this is litchi (a fruit).

MALAY : Peria, Peria kechil, Periok.

NEPALESE : Karelaa.

PORTUGUESE : Balsâmina-de-purga.

SPANISH : Balsamina.

Momordica charantia L.

SYNONYM(S) : Momordica muricata Willd.

BURMESE : Kyethinkhathee.

CHINESE : Ku gua (Cantonese Fu gwa, Foo gwa, Foo kwa), Jin li zhi, Lai pu tao, Ku gua ye, Ku gua ye (Cantonese Foo gwa yip for leaves), Kor kuey (Hokkien - Singapore).

DANISH : Balsamagurk, Balsamaeble.

DUTCH : Balsempeer.

ENGLISH : Balsam pear, Leprosy pear, Leprosy gourd, Bitter gourd, Bitter cucumber.

FINNISH : Karvaskurkku.

FRENCH : Margose (Réunion, Mauritius Islands), Margose amère, Momordique amère, Concombre amer, Concombre africain.

GERMAN : Balsambirne, Bittergurke, Balsamgurke.

HINDI : Karela, Kerela, Tita kerala.

ITALIAN : Pomo meraviglia, Momordica amara.

JAPANESE : Niga uri, Nigai uri, Tsuru reishi, , Tsuru reishi.

KHMER : Mreah.

LAOTIAN : Bai maha, Haix, S'aix.

MALAY : Peria, Daun peria (leaves), Peria laut, Peria katak, Paré (Java), Peparé (Java), Paria (Indonesia).

NEPALESE : Karelaa, Tito karelaa.

SINHALESE : Karavila, Karawila, Pakal, Pavakai.

SPANISH : Bálsamo, Calabaza africana, Cundeamor, Momordica amarga, Pepino amargo.

SWEDISH : Bittergurka.

TAGALOG : Ampalaya.

TAMIL : Pava aki.

THAI : Maha, Mara, Phakha.

VIETNAMESE :, , La khoqua (leaves).

VISAYAN : Palia.

Other names of uncertain origin (probably derived from Hindi) : Carilla gourd, Karel, Karela, Karella, Kerela.


Attractive photograph of seeds at the Cucurbitaceae - Cucurbits Network.
of fruits at ACCE$$ to A$IA
Photograph of inedible fruit
by Botanički VrtPMFa  in Zagreb, Croatia.
of edible leaves at ACCE$$ to A$IA
Photograph of fruit in Japan by
Shigenobu AOKI .

Momordica charantia L. (Long-fruited Group)

SYNONYM(S) : Momordica charantia L. var. maxima Williams & Ng, Momordica charantia L. (White-fruited Group).

CHINESE : Bai ku gua, Bai guo ku gua.

ENGLISH : Long-fruited bitter cucumber.


Types : White-fruited, Green-fruited.

Photograph of green-fruited type by Shigenobu AOKI .
Another photograph in Japan showing fruit, leaves, and flowers.

Momordica charantia L. (Short-fruited Group)

SYNONYM(S) : Momordica charantia L. var. minor Naud., Momordica charantia L. var. minima Williams & Ng, Momordica muricata ?

CHINESE : Xiao ku gua, Xiao guo ku gua.

ENGLISH : Short bitter gourd, Fat bitter gourd, Indian bitter gourd, Green bitter gourd.

FRENCH : Melon de San Gaetano, Poire de merveille.

SPANISH : Balsamito, Cohombrillo amargo.

Types : Green-fruited only.

Momordica charantia L. (Thin-fruited Group)

ENGLISH : Thin bitter cucumber, Thin bitter gourd, Indian bitter gourd.

Types : Green-fruited only.


Photographs of leaves and fruits in one of our galleries, showing inside of fruit at edible & inedible stages.

Momordica charantia L. (Wide-fruited Group)

ENGLISH : Spindle-shaped bitter cucumber, White-rind bitter gourd, Oblong bitter gourd, Oblong-shaped bitter gourd.

JAPANESE : Shiro reishi, .

Types : White-fruited, Green-fruited.

Small photograph of both types in Taiwan.
Photograph of white fruit.
Attractive shot of white fruit
at the Cucurbitaceae - Cucurbits Network.

Momordica cochinchinensis (Lour.) Spreng.

SYNONYM(S) : Muricia cochinchinensis Lour., Momordica mixta Roxburgh, Momordica macrophylla Gage

ASSAMESE : Bhat kerala.

CHINESE : Mu bie, Tu mu bie, Mu bie gua, Teng tong, Mu bie zi, Da ye mu bie zi.

ENGLISH : Spiny bitter-cucumber, Chinese bitter-cucumber, Chinese-cucumber.

FRENCH : Margose à piquants.

HINDI : Kakur, Kantola, Kakrol.

ITALIAN : Cetriolino spinoso.

JAPANESE : Mokube tsushi.

KHMER : Makkao.

LAOTIAN : Khaawz.

MALAY : Pupia (Indonesia), Teruah, Torobuk (Indonesia).

NEPALESE : Jhuse karelaa.

SINHALESE : Tumba karavila.

SPANISH : Pepino amargo espinoso, Pepinillo del diablo, Cundeamor.

TAGALOG : Buyok buyok.

THAI : Phak khao (Fak khaao, Fak kao), Khika khrua.


Other names of uncertain origin (probably derived from Hindi or Assamese) : Bhat karela, Bhat kerala, Kakola, Kakrol, Kakur, Kantola.

Other names from the Philippines : Paruk paruk (Llocano), Taboguak (Bicol).

Momordica cylindrica L. -> Luffa aegyptiaca Mill.

Momordica dioica Roxb. ex Willd.

CHINESE : Yun nan mu bie, Shan ku gua.

ENGLISH : Spine gourd.

FRENCH : Margose de Ceylan.

HINDI : Kaksa.

NEPALESE : Saano tite karelaa.

SINHALESE : Tumba karawila.

TAMIL : Tumpai, Palupakkai.

Momordica elaterium L. -> Ecballium elaterium (L.) A. Rich.

Momordica luffa L. -> Luffa aegyptiaca Mill.

Momordica subangulata Blume

SYNONYM(S) : Momordica eberhardtii Gagnepain

CHINESE : Ao e mu bie.

MALAY : Kamas, Kambas (Indonesia).

THAI : Phakmae.



Porcher Michel H. et al. 1995 - 2020, Sorting Momordica Names. Multilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database - A Work in Progress. Institute of Land & Food Resources. The University of Melbourne. Australia. < > (2005).

General Bibliography


Complementary / Specific


ACCE$$ to A$IAN VEGETABLE$ 1997, Thesaurus. Provided by the Institute for Horticultural Development, Victoria, Australia. (Sets of names (romanised) and photographs, one for each of the most common Asian vegetables found in Australia).

EURODICAUTOM 1999, Multilingual Terminological Database, European Commission Translation Service. (12 languages of the European Community). < >

Grigson Jane & Knox Charlotte (Illustrations), 1986, Exotic Fruits and Vegetables, Henry Holt and Company. New York.

Herklots G.A.C. 1972, Vegetables in South East Asia. George Allen & Unwin Ltd. London (or Hafner Press in New York). (Cantonese - traditional characters + romanization, English, Latin).

Hô Pham-Hoang, 1991, An Illustrated Flora of Vietnam, Set 1, Vol. 2, pp. 718 - 727.

Hutton Wendy & Mealin Peter (Photography), 1996, Tropical Vegetables, Periplus Editions (HK) Ltd.

Reyes M.E.C., Gildemacher B.H. & Jansen G.J. 1993, Momordica L., In Siemonsma J.S. & Kasem Piluek (Editors) : Plant Resources of South-East Asia N°8 . Vegetables. Pudoc Scientific Publishers, Wageningen. pp 206 - 210.

Solomon Charmaine, Solomon Nina & Schouten P. (Illustrations), 1997, Encyclopedia of Asian Food, Hamlyn Australia.

USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN). [Online Database] National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Available: (06 February 2000). Search engine.

Wiersema John H. & León Blanca, 1999, World Economic Plants - A Standard Reference, CRC Press LLC.


Contributors to this page (Personal communication) : Mandy Chew, Takako Asaoka, Robert Newman.


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Date created: 15 / 11 / 1999
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Last modified: 11 / 07 / 2005
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Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher