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Pest Information

Balsam Apple

Balsam Apple

  • Latin Name: Momordica Charantia
  • Common Name: Balsam Apple
  • Other Names: Balsam pear, peria

Pest Details

Balsam Apple
Balsam Apple
Balsam Apple

Origin:

A native of Asia, this noxious, invasive vine is present in the United States in several eastern states including Florida, west along the Gulf Coast to Texas, and in Hawaii.

Biology:

Plants are vines which grow with twining tendrils, growing up through and over the tops of other plants. It is a common invader in landscapes. The seed pod is a large, yellow fruit that is cultivated as food in some areas, although the pods of the plant variety found in Hawaii, var. “pavel”, has a disagreeable flavor. This plant may be found in nearly any habitat, from moist to wet soils and from landscape to waste lots. Reproduction is from seeds or from rhizomes.

Identification:

Stems are narrow but many feet long in their twisting, climbing habit. The leaves have an overall oval to heart-shaped appearance, but are deeply cut into 3 to 5 lobes whose margins are slightly toothed or notched. Leaves are on a long stalk, and the twisting tendrils arise from the leaf axils. The flowers also are on long stalks that arise from the leaf axils, and are solitary, light yellow flowers about 1 inch across. The fruit is a bright orange pod up to 3 inches long, egg-shaped and pointed at both ends, and with the surface either smooth or with ridges.

Characteristicts Important to Control:

Plants can be controlled with systemic herbicides, but due to their nature of growing over other plants this may not be acceptable in many situations. Plants should be physically removed where possible, with regrowth from the roots treated with a herbicide.

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