Botanical Name: Momordica dioica
Species: M. dioica
Common Names:Kaksa, Spiny gourd or Spine gourd, Balsam pear, Prickly carolaho, Teasle gourd or Kantola,
In bengal it is called Kankrol
Assamese: avandhya, bhat-kerela • Bengali: bhat korola, ghee korola, kankrol • Gujarati: katwal • Hindi: Ban karela • Kannada: karchi-balli, madahagala gadde • Konkani: Phagil • Malayalam: Ben-pavel, erimapasel • Marathi: Kartoli • Rajasthani: Bara -Karela, Kankera, Kankoda • Sanskrit: Karkotaki, Karkoti • Tamil: Meluku-pakal, Palu-pakal • Telugu: Adavikakara, Akakara
Habitat: Momordica dioica is native to E. Asia – Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka.It grows on worm climate during rainey season.
Momordica dioica is a perennial, rhozomatous, distinctly dioecious climbing plant producing stems 3 – 5 metres long that scramble over the ground or climb into the surrounding vegetation, attaching themselves by means of tendrils.
It has three varities M. dioica, M. cochinchinensis and M. subangulata subsp. renigera are much confused, although they are quite distinct in flowers and fruits. All three share a large bract at the base of flower (tip of peduncle) and male and female flowers on different plants.
Based on flower the three can be differentiated in that flowers of dioica are yellow, without dark spots (nectaries) at the base of corolla, whereas remaining two have distinct dark dots at the base of pale yellow to nearly white corolla. The corolla lobes of M. cochinchinensis are pointed at tip, they are obtuse or rounded at tip.
The fruits of dioica and M. subangulata are narrowed distinctly towards tip, whereas they are rounded at ends in M. cochinchinensis, in which the spines are not that dense, fruit larger mostly longer than 8 cm, turning yellow and finally red. In M. dioica fruits are smaller, usually shorter than 6 cm densely covered with longer spines. In M. subangulata there are two subspecies, subangulata with longitudinal ridges, no spines, surface totally smooth, and subsp. renigera with tubercles present and in longitudinal rows, surface more or less spinescent if ridges are present.
Requires a soil rich in organic matter if optimum yields are to be achieved.
A dioecious plant, male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required.
Propagation: It is propagated by underground tubers and also through seeds.
Fruit are edible – cooked. Used as a vegetable. The young, green, spiny fruits are much esteemed as a curry-vegetable. They are quite palatable, rather sweet and entirely free of bitterness.
A semi-drying oil is extracted from the seed.
Tender shoots and leaves. Used as greens.
The tuberous root is used in medicine. The roots of female plants are larger than those of the male and are preferred for medicinal uses. They are applied in bleeding piles and urinary complaints. The root paste is applied over the body as a sedative in fever.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.