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Trichosanthes cucumerina anguina - (L.)Haines.

Common Name Snake Gourd
Family Cucurbitaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not known
Range Not known in the wild.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Trichosanthes cucumerina anguina Snake Gourd
Trichosanthes cucumerina anguina Snake Gourd


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Trichosanthes cucumerina anguina is a ANNUAL CLIMBER growing to 5 m (16ft 5in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10 and is frost tender. It is in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen from September to October. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


T. anguina


 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Leaves
Edible Uses:

Young fruit - cooked[1, 46, 61]. It can be used in curries or eaten as a vegetable like green beans[2, 86, 183]. Mature fruits can be up to 2 metres long and 10cm thick[2, 200]. The bright red pulp around the mature seeds is extracted and used in cooking in much the same way that tomatoes are used[183]. Leaves and young shoots - cooked[183].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Abortifacient  Anthelmintic  Emetic  Purgative

The fruit is considered to be anthelmintic, emetic and purgative[240]. The seed is said to be cooling[240]. Peptides in the plant are used as an abortifacient in China[284].

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Other Uses

None known

Cultivation details

Requires a rich well-drained soil and plenty of moisture in the growing season[1]. Cultivated in India for its edible fruit it is not hardy in Britain, requiring greenhouse cultivation[200], though it may be possible to grow it as an annual in a very warm sheltered bed outdoors[1]. The plant is very variable in the shape of the fruit, there are some named varieties[183]. Plants grow best with short daylengths and stable temperatures above 25°c[200]. Plants climb by means of tendrils[188] and also have a slightly twining stem[219]. A weight is sometimes attached to the growing fruit to ensure that it grows straight[183].

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Seed - sow March in pots in a warm greenhouse in a rich soil. Sow 2 - 3 seeds per pot and thin to the strongest plant. Grow them on fast and plant out after the last expected frosts. Give them some protection, such as a frame or cloche, until the plants are growing away well.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

club gourd, serpent gourd, serpent-cucumber, she gua, snake gourd, viper's gourd.

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

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Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

Readers comment

   May 24 2012 12:00AM

I am growing this plant now and it is very easy. I am growing it in a pot inside a greenhouse. Requires warm temperature to sprout, then it grows fast and is a tender climbing. Thrives in rich compost and warm temperature. It seems more resistant to a dry soil than a squash. I will update more at end of the season

   Jun 29 2012 12:00AM

Easy to grow. I grew in a 30cm wide pot, and it easily grows in such small container. It does not need much water. Need full sun and warm and rich soil. Grows fast, after 2 months starts making a huge number of male flowers and ocasionally female flowers. It is self-fertile and easily polinized by insects (better than common squash in a greenhouse). Several fruits per plant.

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