Burstin’ bittergourds!

My bittergourd trellis.

Remember how I got my bittergourd vine? A bird kindly “deposited” a seed in my big pot of Japanese bamboo and I managed to identify the plant before yanking it out as a weed. That was back in March, and the vine has since matured and put out a few fruits. They turned out to be a smaller variety, at around 8cm in length. For some obscure reason, the shape and size reminds me of a Christmas tree ornament!

Now, I’m not a huge fan of eating bittergourds, no matter how beneficial they may be for health. I mean, they really live up to their name, and are B-I-T-T-E-R!!! Bleah! So, while I enjoyed watching the first fruit grow and develop, I didn’t pluck it.

The bittergourd after the female flower had been pollinated successfully.

Bittergourd at about 1 week old.

Bittergourd at about 2 weeks old.

At 3 weeks old, it began to ripen.

And 4 days later, the ripe fruit burst open, dropping part of the fruit and several seeds on the ground below.

If you recall, the bittergourd vine is growing on the fence around my compost heap. When it dispersed some seeds onto the mulch, I thought it would be interesting to see how long it would take them to grow. Well, I forgot about the birds… Not only were the seeds gone the next day but so was the piece of fruit that had been on the ground. It may have been the ever-present mynahs or perhaps the bulbuls that had eaten the fruit, but at least it didn’t go to waste!

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