We need to raise £10,000 from user donations to get our finances in balance. More >>>

Follow Us:


Trichosanthes ovigera - Blume.

Common Name Japanese Snake Gourd
Family Cucurbitaceae
USDA hardiness 9-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Fertile and damp places in mountain wilds in China[147]. Brushwoods along valleys, open forests on mountain slopes at elevations of 700 - 2500 metres[266].
Range E. Asia - China, Japan.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Trichosanthes ovigera Japanese Snake Gourd

Trichosanthes ovigera Japanese Snake Gourd


Translate this page:

You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box.


Physical Characteristics

Trichosanthes ovigera is a PERENNIAL CLIMBER at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10 and is frost tender. It is in leaf from May to October, 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.


T. cucumeroides. Maxim.


 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit;  Root.
Edible Uses:

An edible starch is obtained from the root[2, 46, 61, 183]. The immature fruit is preserves in miso or salt[183]. The mature fruit is about 7cm long[200]. A nutritional analysis is available[218]. We have no record of the seed being edible, though there is no reason to believe that it should not be[K]. Like the edible seeds of many members of this plant family, the seed is eaten in the Orient as a vermifuge[218]. The seed contains 33.8% protein and 56.3% fat[218].

Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Fruit (Dry weight)
  • 316 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 0%
  • Protein: 15.8g; Fat: 0g; Carbohydrate: 78.9g; Fibre: 8.8g; Ash: 5.3g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 333mg; Phosphorus: 596mg; Iron: 17.5mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 2159mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 14210mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.7mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.9mg; Niacin: 12.3mg; B6: 0mg; C: 105mg;
  • Reference: [ 218]
  • Notes:

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.

Anodyne;  Antiphlogistic;  Blood purifier;  Diuretic;  Febrifuge;  Poultice;  Vermifuge.

Diuretic[116]. The seed is vermifuge[218]. The root is anodyne, antiphlogistic, blood purifier, depurative, febrifuge and resolvent[147]. It is used as a poultice or made into a decoction to treat abscesses, boils, fevers, sore throats etc[147, 218]. The fruit is used to treat coughs, diabetes, jaundice etc[218].

Other Uses


The dried fruit is a soap substitute[46, 61, 116].

Cultivation details

Requires a rich well-drained soil and plenty of moisture in the growing season[1]. Plants are not hardy in Britain and normally require greenhouse cultivation[200], but it may be possible to grow them as a spring-sown annual in a very warm sheltered bed outdoors[1].


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 some protection, such as a frame or cloche, until the plants are growing away well.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

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 :

Related Plants


Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment



Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.

2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.

3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Trichosanthes ovigera  
All the information contained in these pages is Copyright (C) Plants For A Future, 1996-2012.
Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567,
Web Design & Management
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some information cannot be used for commercial reasons or be modified (but some can). Please view the copyright link for more information.