Little Wild Gourd
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Little Wild Gourd
P Native Photo: Milind Girdhari
Common name: Little Wild Gourd • Hindi: ककरोल Kakrol • Kannada: Karchikai • Marathi: Kadavanchi • Tamil: Athalakkai • Telugu: Kasarakayee, Kasarakai
Botanical name: Momordica cymbalaria    Family: Cucurbitaceae (Pumpkin family)
Synonyms: Luffa amara, Luffa tuberosa, Momordica tuberosa, Cucumis tuberosus

Little Wild Gourd is a perennial herb with slender, climbing, branched, striped stem. It is a trailing plant with large turnip shaped tuberous rootstock. The leaves are round-kidney-shaped in outline, deeply heart-shaped at the base, bluntly lobed with 5-7 lobes. flowers are white to yellow in color. Flowers are small, unisexual in nature. The male flower flower-cluster-stalk is 5-30 mm long, thread-like, hairy, ebracteate with 2-5 flowers in racemes with a pale yellow flower and two stamens for each flower. The female flower is solitary on a flower-cluster-stalk of 2.8 cm long. The fruits are 2.0-2.5 cm long, pyriform with 8 sharp ridges, 2.4 x 1.5 cm narrowed at the tip and with the base narrowed into the curved flower-cluster-stalk, which is fleshy, dark green and robbed. Seeds are 4.6 mm long, ovoid shaped, black, smooth and shiny. Little Wild Gourd is found in Africa, Pakistan and India.
Medicinal uses: Little Wild Gourd fruits are useful in treating gout, rheumatism and sub-acute cases of the spleen and liver disease. The fruits juice and leaf tea of Little Wild Gourd is employed for diabetes, malaria, colic, sores and wounds, infections, worms and parasites, as an emmenagogue, and for measles, hepatitis, and fevers. Fruit pulp, leaf juice and seeds possess antihelimetic activity.

Identification credit: N Arun Kumar Photographed in Aurangabad, Maharashtra.

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