White Gourd
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White Gourd
ative Photo: Tabish
Common name: White Gourd, Ash Gourd, Wax Gourd, Winter Melon • Hindi: पेठा Petha, पेठाकद्दू Pethakaddu • Manipuri: ꯇꯣꯔꯣꯕꯣꯠ Torobot • Marathi: कोहळा Kohla • Tamil: neer poosanikai • Malayalam: കുമ്പളങ്ങ Kumbalanga • Telugu: booDida Gummadikaaya • Kannada: budekumbalakayi, boodu gumbala • Bengali: kumra, chalkumra • Assamese: Komora • Sanskrit: brihatphala, ghrinavasa, gramyakarkati, karkaru • Nepali: कुविण्डो Kubindo • Tangkhul: Katsenghei • Mizo: Mai-pawl
Botanical name: Benincasa hispida    Family: Cucurbitaceae (Pumpkin family)
Synonyms: Benincasa cerifera, Cucurbita hispida, Benincasa pruriens

White gourd is a vine grown for its very large fruit, eaten as a vegetable. The fruit is fuzzy when young. By maturity, the fruit loses its hairs and develops a waxy coating, giving rise to the name wax gourd, and providing a long shelf life. Stem is much branched. Leaf stalks are long and hairy. Leaves roundish, kidney-shaped, base deeply heart-shaped. Upper surface is rough, lower surface shortly bristly, blade 10-25 cm long and as much broad, 5-7-lobed, lobes ovate-triangular, margin sinuate or toothed. Tendrils are slender, rarely simple. Male flower 5-15 cm long, female 2-4 cm long. Calyx tube 10-15 mm long, densely hairy, lobes lanceolate, acute, 6-12 mm long. Petals spreading, blunt, but ending in a short point, 3-5 x 2-4 cm. Filaments of the stamens are inflated and hairy at the base, anthers trilobed. In north India, the fruit is used in making the popular sweet पेठा petha.

Identification credit: Lakshmanan Iyer Photographed in Imphal, Manipur & Bijor, UP.

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