I've been trying to cultivate this for some time as an adjunct to my New Guinea Bean / Cucuzzi (Lagenaria siceraria) preferences.
Nomenclature is problematical but I'm growing Trichosanthes cucumerina var. anguina and, aside from the ready fruiting and keen growth, it's a tasty cuke.
Online image at left.
Very crisp -- albeit with a spiky skin that is easily chewed or removed. Your mouth won't bleed. It presents like a long Japanese cucumber. The plant is a climber and grows like Cucuzzi rather than your standard cuke.
As it matures it may get bitter...but at one foot long I'm hooked.
So after struggling to get cucumbers a'happening in my patch and some disease issues with Cucuzzi it looks like I am to be served up my crispness surfeit from this gourd.
Naturalised in northern Western Australia.
The snake gourd (Trichosanthes cucumerina var. Anguina), was probably originally domesticated in India, and the wild form of the species (Trichosanthes cucumerina var. cucumerina) is native to southern and eastern Asia as well as to Australia (where the MSB collection is from) and the islands of the western Pacific. Like other gourds, it is a member of the pumpkin family (Cucurbitaceae), and as the name implies, the fruits are very long, slender and often wriggly like a snake.
Nowadays, snake gourds are also cultivated as a minor vegetable crop in parts of Africa, Madagascar and other tropical and subtropical regions. They are eaten as a vegetable when very young, although the taste is rather bland. As snake gourds get older, their flesh becomes tougher and more bitter and their rind turns dark red and hardens. Inside they contain a soft, red, tomato-like pulp that can be used as a tomato-substitute in cooking.
During the course of a night, the bud of a snake gourd slowly unfurls into a beautiful white and strongly scented flower, fringed with long, lace-like tendrils. Their shape, colour and scent, as well as their nocturnal opening, clearly indicate that the snake gourd’s flowers are moth-pollinated.[REF]
As a serviceable veg --esp as a cucumber substitute -- the literature I've read (pdf) suggests that the plant loves heat and humidity.
So if you want extra salad days over Summer -- and maybe some overhead shade -- consider planting Serpent Gourd.
Interesting new veg Dave. Thanks for sharing.
I'm surprised it hasn't been discussed previously in this forum. The thing about cukes, I reckon, is crunch and a certain palatable freshness without a prevailing taste.
These snakes deliver.Very crisp. Quick growing. Productive. Summer survivor.
Nothing big in way of nutrition aside from high calcium and phosphorus-- but nor do cucumbers offer much. Used in traditional medicine...
Can be prepared like any squash I guess and will surely suit salads and salsas.
It is also known as Chinese Cucumber -- for example: Cucumber with mashed garlic-- supposedly the most popular cucumber dish in China.
Oops! I went outback tonight to look at my night flowering gourd flower and found it was yellow! So I'm not growing this gourd at all but a 'true' cucumber.
So apologies methinks.
Maybe I have Armenian
...or Suyo Long Chinese Cucumber but that looks like this:
I suspect it's Suyo Long I've got growing.
But it grows fast and climbs and is very productive...
The seeds i've sown in fact were bought as Siberian Cucumber and Serpent Gourd. Since I have some more Serpent G seeds, I'll have to see if I can get them going and solve the puzzle.
But maybe i've been slipped a few mickeys....For now I can't name the culprit because the seeds came from different suppliers.
Of course gourds need space but even there they can be shorn to size.
Aside from most of the zucchinis (except trombonchino) and the cucumbers, many of the gourds are pretty healthy in the soil in our climate.
Generally gourds refer to two Cucurbitaceae genera Lagenaria and Cucurbita, While we'll keenly grow pumpkins, cucumbers and zukes -- there are others that are EXTREMELY versatile in the kitchen and even more generous in the garden.
I like to look upon my gourd fancying as the quest for taste and texture. Indeed I prefer my bottle and snake gourds to the trombonchino which at the moment is rampaging outback and fruiting much more than I'd like.
As a dedicated braise, soup and stew person -- gourds are a magical ingredient.
However, since this season I have finally nailed the snake gourd DIY I do recommend this lovely creature as warranting a try in the beds.