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P Native Photo: Surajit Koley
Common name: Parval, Pointed Gourd • Bengali: Patol • Gujarati: Patola • Hindi: परवल Parval • Kannada: Kaadu Padaval, Kadu padavala kayi • Marathi: परवल Parval • Nepali: परवल Parval • Sanskrit: Patola, Lulka, Tikta, Panduka • Tamil: Kambupudalai • Telugu: Kommu Potla, Chedu Potla
Botanical name: Trichosanthes dioica    Family: Cucurbitaceae (Pumpkin family)
Synonyms: Anguina dioeca, Trichosanthes officinalis

Pointed gourd is a perennial, climbing plant producing stems that can sprawl over the ground or climb into other plants for support, attaching themselves by means of tendrils. Roots are tuberous with long taproot system. Vines are pencil thick in size with dark green heart-shaped simple leaves. Flowers are tubular white. Male flower-cluster-stalks are paired, both 1-flowered, 2-3 cm long, finely velvet-hairy; female flowers solitary on 2-4 mm long flower-cluster-stalks. Calyx-tube somewhat cylindric, broadened at tip, hairy, about 4 mm across at tip, sepals linear, about 4-5 mm long. Petals are oblong, strongly fringed. Staminal filaments very short, anthers free. The plant has been cultivated, especially in eastern India, for over 2,000 years. Its edible fruit is highly prized in India.

Identification credit: Surajit Koley Photographed in Hooghly, West Bengal.

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