Momordica cochinchinensis


Images by Surajit Koley & (Niyas - Id by Gurcharan Singh), (For more photos & complete details, click on the links)
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Chinese Cucumber, Spiny bitter-cucumber, Chinese bitter-cucumber • Hindi: ककुर Kakur, कंटोला Kantola, ककरोल Kakrol • Manipuri: কারোত Karot • Marathi: Gulkakra • Malayalam: Kshudramalakasanda • Telugu: Varivalli • Bengali: গোলককরা Golkakra • Assamese: Bhat kerala • Sanskrit: Katamala;
 
It seems 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;
 
M. cochinchinensis: Petiole with 2-5 glands; bract of male flower 3-5 cm long, 5-8 cm broad; fruit ovoid, 12-15 cm in diam, uniformly spiny.
M. subangulata var. renigera: Petiole without glands, bract of male flower 2-3 cm long, 2-4 cm broad; fruit ovoid, 5-7 cm long, 2.5-4 cm broad, narrowed at both ends, covered with longitudinal rows of flattened tubercles or undulate ridges;  

  
 
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Hooghly Today : finally KAKROL / GOL-KAKRA : Attachments (12). 6 posts by 3 authors.
My colleague, ... collected a fruit from local market and a sapling from his neighbour.
A little while ago my mother has planted the sapling in our homeyard, but the plant may not survive, thanks to crowded public transport.
Thanks a lot ... Finally we have Momordica cochinchinensis in our database.
Three cheers For ...
And we have also learnt that Kakrol (and not Gol-kakrol-M. cochinchinensis), which is such a common vegetable in India mostly remained burried under M. dioica (and somewhat under M. cochinchinensis because of name kakrol) in FBI (which lists both M. renigera Wall. and M. subangulata as synonyms of M. dioica) and subsequent Indian books. Useful Plants of India (CSIR) does not list M. renigera, but uses both names kakrol and gol-kakrol for M. cochinchinensis. The all important book on vegetable crops by Gopalakrishnan gives long list of differences between M. dioica and M. cochinchinensis (Kakrol) but totally silent about M. renigera.
We are not alone in this confusion. M. dioica does not grown in China but has been reported in most Chinese Floras as misidentification of M renigera (now M. subangulata subsp. renigera).
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=250096515
My colleague says one or two of his neighbors have this plant, The plants grow on their own. My colleague collected this sapling growing under such a climber which occupies the canopy of a 30 ft tree.
Usually village kids collect these fruits from wildly growing plants and sell those at Rs. 3/- to 5/- each.
I have information of another one, growing in a graveyard. People collect fruits from such places.
If time & monsoon permit i will try to visit the majestic vine.
Thank you very much for elaborate account and misconception over KAKROL.
Very nice depiction and good pictures.
Thanks for the pictures and information 
I went to FURFURA (Sheakhala, Hooghly) today to record this one. But I was too late.... flowering time is over. Attachments (9)
You missed red fruits.
There was no fully ripe red fruit. The fruits are eaten while they remain green, the owner gifted me two (the last pic).
wonderful case study
Thanks ...
It was a very good upload because M. cochinchinensis (Gac fruit, Gol Kakra) , M. acutangula Particularly M. subangulata subsp. renigera- Kakrol- commonly sold in Indian markets) subsp. acutangula with smooth fruits and popular in Thailand, and M. dioica (Kantola, bhat karela, kaksa, fruits half the size of kakrol with sharper spines), although so distinct are terribly confused in literature, more so on reputed websites, even Flora of China had earlier confused M. renigera as M. dioica.
http://www.plantsystematics.org/imgs/dws/r/Cucurbitaceae_Momordica_subangulata_17585.html this is actually M. cochinchinensis, twice the size of M. subangulata
In fact I had purchased photograph of fully mature M. cochinenchinensis royalty free online before ... uploaded in this mail, both are in my book "Know your Fruits and Vegetables: Cucurbits"
I am uploading photographs of M. dioca and M. subangulata subsp. renigera to complete the series. Attachments (2).
Thank you very much Didi. Only for ... it was possible. The study will be finished as and when I record its flower.
Thank you very very much. It was wonderful experience. I would very much like too have another such book by you on Solanaceae.
Surely ... Currently I am working on Leaf and root vegetables. Solanaceae may be be one of the future ones
It resembles the veg. kakora.
Thanks ... bought the book today. wait to get delivery.
Your two pictures today help make sense why the "same" kakrol vegetable from the local markets often look a little different shaped... i will try to dissect and later taste the cooked vegetable to see if i can find any difference.
ANd ... in urban areas where local rare veg are not available I have never seen that gol-kakarol. thanks for this case. and when you do get flowers next spring, may be you will add it to this thread... i am saving it.
I went to FURFURA SHARIF today. My colleague ... had information that one plant in his village was in flowering and fruiting stage now. I went there at around 3 pm. The owner took us to the roof of his single-storied house. There were few flowers! But we needed one more storey to reach those flowers. However, we could access one!
Attached here a new set, recorded today. (8.7.15)
Attachments (10)

Two more photographs to show a partly mature fruit and bract of a flower (around 15ft above our head).
Attachments (2)
 
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Hooghly Today : Momordica cochinchinensis Spreng.:  Attachments (10). 1 post by 1 author.
My colleague, ..., collected a four feet twig from a graveyard. 
He says, "This is a big climber, the stem of which is as robust as a big shrub or a small tree. An elderly local person asked me not to cut any portion of any branch. But i persuaded him to allow me take a twig for the sake of science. And here it is for you!"
To give a "real life" look i placed the twig on a bush and took photographs! Since this specimen comes from a mature plant i record the following characteristics. Please, note that the fruit in this specimen is very young/immature. Please also note in one photo i placed a partially mature fruit of M. renigera (from the same plant which i uploaded earlier).
  • immature fruit of M. cochinchinensis is very similar to M. renigera, except for the size and dark/deep green colour of the fruit (in M. cochinchinensis). The spines on both the fruits are very similar in young stage, but harder & bigger in Cochinchinensis
  • spines on cochinchinensis are all equal, but vary in length & width on renigera
  • leaves of cochinchinensis are 3 to 5 lobed, glabrous and smooth on both sides, with stout but short (relatively) petiole. Petioles always bear glands, glands are similar to that of ARJUNA (in appearance & size); number of glands and their position on leaf stalk varies; leaf base may or may not have glands
  • fruit stalk is also very stout, but significantly shorter in cochinchinensis as can be seen in a photo
Please note that the seeds in the attached photo are of cochinchinensis, not of renigera.

 
 
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Hooghly Today : Momordica cochinchinensis Spreng. at Garalgacha :  Attachments (7). 1 post by 1 author.
I am yet too see fruits or flowers of this particular plant. 
Instead, i copy owners version, " fruit of this plant is like green jackfruit, having hard spines, each can weigh 500 gm or more, i collected this plant from Udaynarayanpur (Howrah), my native place, where some households have this climber in their back yard. This plant needs much space to grow and a tree to climb. If it finds a citrus tree it would avoid the same for their prickles. We eat fruits as vegetable."
In this first pic you can see the main trunk which was cut long ago. You can have an idea of the diam. comparing the same with Bauhinia leaf.
2nd pic shows offshoots from the cut stem
3rd pic shows a part of those offshoots
4th pic shows glands on petiole which are clearly visible even on standing on ground
5th pic shows closer view of glands
6th and 7th pics show seedlings, even this seedlings feature petiolar glands.
The owner says, "If you come during Puja (October) you can see flowers and fruits."

id pls this climber ...02102013niju1 :  Attachments (2). 2 posts by 2 authors.
this is a climber from thrissur......kerala...
Momordica cochinchinensis
 
 
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june15sk26/31 -- Momordica cochinchinensis (Lour.) Spreng.3 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (3)
It was the KURKUTA in Sanskrit, KAKROOL in Hindi and GOL-KAKRA in Bengali (as per Flora Indica) and গোলকাঁকড়া as per Voigt; found with the help of concerted efforts by my colleagues and guided by ...
This fruit is also eaten as fried veg., but not commonly sold, eaten specially by people in interior villages. The species is not commonly grown here, but can be found in garden/orchards/kitchen-garden of some villagers.
Thank you Sir, possibly it is the time when I could get its flower, but none of those locations is near my home; and monsoon is not suitable to tread muddy village roads.... well. let me see if I can.
 
 
 
 
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