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Benincasa hispida

Description from Flora of China

Cucurbita hispida Thunberg, Nova Acta Regiae Soc. Sci. Upsal. 4: 38. 1783; Benincasa cerifera Savi; B. hispida var. chieh-qua F. C. How; B. pruriens (Solander ex Seemann) W. J. de Wilde & Duyfjes; B. pruriens f. hispida (Thunberg) W. J. de Wilde & Duyfjes; C. pruriens Solander ex Seemann; Lagenaria leucantha Rusby var. hispida (Thunberg) Nakai; L. siceraria (Molina) Standley var. hispida (Thunberg) H. Hara; L. vulgaris Seringe var. hispida (Thunberg) Nakai.

Plants creeping or scandent. Stem and branches yellow-brown hispid and villous, sulcate-angular. Petiole robust, 5-20 cm, yellow-brown hispid and villous; leaf blade reniform-orbicular, 15-30 cm wide, 5-7-lobed; lobes broadly triangular or ovate, both surfaces scabrous, abaxially densely pubescent, adaxially puberulent, base deeply cordate, sinus almost rounded, margin dentate, apex acute. Male flowers: pedicel 5-15 cm, densely hispid and villous; bract ovate or broadly oblong, 6-10 mm, apex acute; calyx tube 12-15 mm in diam., densely hispid-villous; segments 8-12 mm; corolla yellow; segments 3-6 × 2.5-3.5 cm, both surfaces pubescent; filaments 2-3 mm, base expanded; anthers ca. 5 mm. Female flowers: pedicel less than 5 cm, densely yellow-brown hispid and villous; ovary ovoid or cylindric, 2-4 cm, densely hispid; style 2-3 mm; stigmas 12-15 mm. Fruit 50-60 × 10-25 cm. Seeds white or pale yellow, 10-11 × 5-7 mm, ca. 2 mm thick, marginate. Fl. Jun-Sep, fr. Jul-Nov.

The fruit is eaten as a vegetable; the seeds are used medicinally.

Commonly cultivated in China [native origin uncertain; cultivated throughout the tropics, especially in Asia].


 

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