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ntroduced Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Chowchow, Choko, chayote, vegetable pear, custard marrow • Hindi: चो चो Chow Chow • Nepali: इसकुस Iskus • Manipuri: ꯗꯁꯀꯨꯁ Daskush • Tamil: Seema-kattirikkai • Kannada: ಸೀಮೆಬದನೆ Seemebadane, ಸೀಮೆಸೌತೆ Seeme Sowte • Bengali: Quash • Tangkhul: Squash • Mizo: Iskut • Angami: Kusu, Kusmri, Kushu
Botanical name: Sechium edule    Family: Cucurbitaceae (Pumpkin family)

Chowchow, the vine, is a tuberous rooted perennial that climbs by clinging with tenacious tendrils. Vines can scramble over structures and up trees for 40 ft or more. The leaves are broadly triangulate, about 5-8 in long, with shallow lobes. Chowchow, the fruit, is a pale apple-green rounded pear shaped thing about 6 in long that dangles from the vines on thin stems. It is thick and fleshy, a little crisp, and contains a single large seed which is eaten right along with the flesh. The flowers are small and whitish in color. Female flowers, produced only late in the growing season, give rise to the fruits whose taste has been compared to cucumbers and summer squash. There are several varieties of chowchow cultivated in various parts of the world. They differ in details of shape, size and texture. Most varieties have fruits with ridges; some are smooth; some are knobby, and some are fuzzy; some are dark green, some almost white, and some are brown. Chowchow originated in the cool mountains of Central America.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Imphal, Manipur.

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