Malabar Gourd (Cucurbita ficifolia)

Perennial Climber
C. melanospermum.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Malabar Gourd
Cucurbita ficifolia
Cucurbitaceae

The shell of the mature fruit is very hard and it can be used as a container[86].

  • Medicinal Use

    The seeds are vermifuge[7, 88]. The complete seed, together with the husk, is used. This is ground into a fine flour, then made into an emulsion with water and eaten. It is then necessary to take a purgative afterwards in order to expel the tapeworms or other parasites from the body[7]. As a remedy for internal parasites, the seeds are less potent than the root of Dryopteris felix-mas, but they are safer for pregnant women, debilitated patients and children[238].

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – cooked[22, 46, 61, 97]. Best used when young, at that stage it can be used like a cucumber. The mature fruits are sometimes boiled and eaten[183, 196]. A confection is made from the flesh by boiling it with crude sugar[183]. The mature fruit can be stored for 2 years or more and becomes sweeter with storage[200]. The fruit is up to 35cm in diameter[200].

    Seed – raw[57, 86, 160]. Rich in oil with a nutty flavour but very fiddly to use because the seed is small and covered with a fibrous coat[K]. The seed is delicious when roasted and eaten like peanuts[183, 196].

    An edible oil is obtained from the seed. It is rich in oleic acid[196].

  • Cautionary Notes

    The sprouting seed produces a toxic substance in its embryo[65].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow early to mid spring in a greenhouse in a rich soil. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. Sow 2 or 3 seeds per pot and thin out to the best plant. Grow them on fast and plant out after the last expected frosts, giving them cloche or frame protection for at least their first few weeks if you are trying them outdoors.
Requires a rich, well-drained moisture retentive soil and a very warm, sunny and sheltered position[1]. Tolerates poor, wet and badly drained soils according to another report[160]. Plants are not very frost-tolerant, they can be grown as an annual in temperate climates, and are sometimes cultivated for their edible fruit in warmer areas of the world[50, 86]. A very vigorous plant, it can produce shoots 25 metres long in 1 year from seed in Britain[86]. This is the hardiest member of the genus but its fruits are coarse and stringy when grown in Britain so it is usually grown as an ornamental plant only[86]. Plants are day-length sensitive, flowering only in late summer and autumn[196]. This species does not hybridize naturally with other members of the genus though crosses have been made under controlled conditions[86, 135]. In America it takes 3 months from seed to first harvest and 6 months to obtain mature fruit[160]. The average fruit size is 9 kilos and this contains 2 cups of seed[160].
E. Asia? Original habitat is obscure.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.