Snake Gourd (Trichosanthes cucumerina)
is a tropical or subtropical vine. Its variety T. cucumerina
raised for its strikingly long fruit. In Asia, it is eaten immature as a vegetable much like the summer squash and in Africa, the reddish pulp of mature snake gourd is used as an economical substitute for tomato.
Common names for the cultivated variety include snake gourd,
serpent gourd, chichinda.
Snake Gourd is a tropical or subtropical vine, raised for its strikingly long fruit, used as a vegetable and for medicine. The narrow, soft-skinned fruit can reach 150 cm long. Its soft, bland, somewhat mucilaginous flesh is similar to that of the luffa and the calabash. Leaf blade kidney-shaped or broadly ovate, 7-10 × 8-11 cm, membranous, deeply 5-7-lobed, lobes triangular or rhombic. The white flower is beautiful and lacy, and open at night. It is most popular in the cuisine of South Asia and Southeast Asia. The shoots, tendrils, and leaves are also eaten as greens. It is a popular vegetable in South India.
According to Ayurveda, the plant pacifies vitiated pitta, constipation, skin diseases, burning sensation, diabetes, anorexia, flatulence, constipation, worm infestation, fever and general weakness.