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Plant Name        Momordica dioica          

                Common name:    Kaksa               

                Marathi:                 Kartoli               

                Hindi:                     Ban Karela        

                English:                 Spiny gourd      

                Jawhar:                  Kartoli                


Identification guide


Kaksa is a perennial 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

Leaves  1-4 inch long, cordate, acute, 3-5 lobed


large and yellow


They look similar to bitter gourd but smaller in size with small spiny dots. They are dark green in colour when mature and change from light to yellow when overripe .  


Habit / Habitat


It is a perennial climbing creeper.


It grows in wild in poor, infertile soil on the roadside or around the fields.



It is native to Asia and extensively distributed in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.              


Edible parts

World wide use               :               Fruit


Method of consumption

Jawhar tribal:    Fruits are peeled and boiled to reduce its bitterness. It is cooked like ‘karela’ and eaten as a vegetable. 

Other Recipe    


(Measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml)


  1. 200 gms kartoli/kantola/spine gourd
  2. ½ tsp turmeric powder/haldi
  3. ½ tsp black pepper or ½ tsp red chili powder (to make more spicy, increase the black pepper or red chili powder)
  4. 2 tbsp oil
  5. salt as required


  1. Rinse the kantola in water, drain and then slice them. Remove seeds if tough and if soft or tender chop and add it in the mixture..
  2. Add turmeric, black pepper powder.
  3. Mix the spices with the sliced kantola and marinate for 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a shallow frying pan and add the kantola.
  5. Stir and saute and let them cook on a low flame.
  6. Add salt when half cooked.
  7. Continue to saute until brown and are slightly crisp.
  8. Serve the kantola-fry hot or warm as a side dish with dal rice or rasam-rice or with sambar-rice. They also go well with chapatis.


Nutritional and medicinal information

Nutritive Significance

 Literature review:

 It is a rich source of phytonutrients like dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants.

 It is good source of folate (Vitamin Bc), which is essential for cell growth and reproduction.

 It is rich in Vitamin A


Nutritional value of 100 g edible portion of spine gourd 


Sr. No Parameters Value

1 Moisture 84.1%

2 Carbohydrate  7.7 g

3 Protein 3.1 g

4 Fat 1.0 g

5 Fibre 3.0 g

6 Calcium 33 mg

7 Phosphorous  42 mg

8 Iron 4.6 mg


9 Thiamine 0.05 mg

10 Riboflavin 0.10 mg

11 Niacine 0.06 mg


 Pharmaceutical significance

Literature review:

  1. A study was conducted to evaluate phenolic compound production, antioxidant and antimicrobial (antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral) activities of transgenic hairy root cultures in M. dioica. The study revealed that M.dioica hairy root cultures have great potential for the production of valuable phenolic compounds.


Propagation and Storage

 Season of collection

 It is usually grown in cultivated in the monsoon. Although, the vegetables could be harvested in 75-80 days if the vine is propagated by seeds while, it takes 35-40 days for harvest if propagated from tubers.

 How to grow it?

 Vegetative propagation is through tuberous roots. Plant propagation through seeds under natural conditions has lower chance or takes longer duration to germinate due to hard seed coat .

Method of storage

Propagules: Seeds and tubers

Edible parts: The fruits are stored not more than 3 days and usually cooked and eaten garden fresh.      



Kingdom:            Plantae

Division:              Spermatophyta

Sub-division:     Angiospermae

Class:                    Dicotyledonae

Sub-class:            Polypetalae

Series:                  Calyciflorae

Order:                   Passiflorales

Family:                Cucurbitaceae

Genus:                Momordica

Species:               dioica




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