Snake Gourd

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

snake gourd Trichosanthes cucumerina, an Asian cucurbit of typical vinelike growth, native to India (where it is known by names such as parval and padwal) but now also grown in other tropical regions. Of the various species in this genus, the snake gourd is the only one which has any importance as a food; others may be too bitter or even toxic. The fruits would be curved like snakes if they were not induced to grow straight by hanging small weights from their ends. They are elongated and can measure well over 1 m (4') in length, corresponding to a diameter of only 5 cm (2").