Snake Gourd and Pointed Gourd Botany and horticulture

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Trichosanthes cucumerina is a climbing cucurbit.

The not yet ripe fruit has a bitter taste which is however softened with cooking. The reddish pulp, on the other hand, is used in Africa as a substitute for tomatoes and the shoots, tendrils and leaves as vegetables. The “snake gourd”, as well as being ornamental in gardens, is excellent in the kitchen, stuffed with minced peppers, spinach and courgettes, while, dried, it can be painted and engraved and is widely used in crafts for making tools wind chimes, rattles, rainsticks and decorative sculptures, but also for bird feeders and nest boxes and jewelery boxes. Artist Mike Peyton, for example, is known around the world for creating snakes inlaid with decorative geometric patterns to hang on walls.

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