Scientific name : Benincasa hispida
English names : Wax Gourd, White Gourd.
Local name : Chalkumra.
Taxonomic position (according to Cronquist)
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.