White Gourd

White Gourd

Scientific name          : Benincasa hispida

English names            : Wax Gourd, White Gourd.

Local name                : Chalkumra.

Taxonomic position according to Cronquist

 

Kingdom  : Plantae
Division : Magnoliophyta
Class : Magnoliopsida
Sub-class : Dilleniidae
Order : Violales
Family : Cucurbitaceae
Genus : Benincasa
Species :hispada

 

Botanical Description of White Gourd

 

Habit: A robust, annual, hispid, climbing herb.

Root: Tap root

Stem: Branched, diffuse, having slender tendril.

Leaf: Leaves reniform-rounded, 10-25 cm long and as broad, deeply cordate, upper surface scabrous, lower shortly hispid, 5-7 lobed, margin sinuate, dentate, nerves hirsute at lower surface, petioles robust, 5-20 cm long, yellow-brown, hispid, villous.

Inflorescence: Plants monoecious, male flowers solitary, pedicels 5-15 cm long, densely hispid and villous. Bracts ovate or broadly oblong, 6-15 x 5-10 mm, apexacute.

Calyx: Tubular 12-15 mm in diameter, densely villose, lobes lanceolate, 8-12 x 3-5 mm.

Corolla: Yellow, lobes 3-6 x 2.5-3.5 cm, both surfaces pubescent.

Androecium: Stamens 3, free, inserted at thecalyx tube, filaments hispid, 2-3 mm long, base expanded, anthers 4 mm long, sub-trilobate.

Female flowers also solitary, pedicels less than 5 cm long, densely yellow-brown, hispid, villous. Ovary ovoid or cylindric, softly hairy, style 2-3 cm long, stigmas 3, 12-15 mm long, 2-lipped. Fruits: Pepo 50-60 x 10-25 cm, fleshy, hairy when young, waxy bloom when mature.

Seeds: compressed, ovoid, yellowish- white, distinctly marginate, 10-12 x 5-7 mm and c 2 mm thick.

 

Economic Importance: The young and mature fruits are eaten as vegetable. The ripe fruits are cut into pieces and candied with sugar. The seeds are fried and eaten. The fruit is considered alterative, styptic, tonic, nutritive and diuretic. It is also useful for hemorrhages of internal organs and in phthisis.