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Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn.

Family Name: Cucurbitaceae
Common Name: Winter Melon, Wax Gourd, Fuzzy Gourd, Ash Gourd
Full Sun: 6-8h Moderate Water Fruit & Vegetable Annual Climber, Vine and Liana


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Climber, Vine & Liana
Lifespan (in Singapore) Annual
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution South-East Asia
Native Habitat Terrestrial

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form An annual, herbaceous vine. It has a twining growth form and climbs with the aid of tendrils.  
Foliage The simple and coarsely textured large leaves can reach 10 to 15cm in width and are 5 lobed. Leaves are alternately arranged along the stem. 
Stems The stems are covered with coarse hairs. 
Flowers The flowers are yellow and originate from the leaf axils. 
Fruits The fruit is cylindrical to oblong and is dark green in colour with white flesh. The mature fruit can grow up to 30 to 45cm long and has a waxy coating, allowing it to be kept for long periods of time. 
Cultivation It is ideally grown in fertile, well drained growing media under full sun. It takes 80-140 days from sowing to first harvest.
Etymology The genus name honours 16th century Italian Giuseppe Benincasa (1535-1596) while the species epithet 'hispida' means rough-hairy, referring to the pubescent foliage and stems. 
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Fruits)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable : The fruit can be eaten and is used in soups, candied in sugar or stuffed and steamed. )

Landscaping Features

Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens
Thematic Landscaping Economic Garden

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Propagation Method Seed
Seed or Spore Germination Duration From 7
Seed or Spore Germination Duration To 14
Seed or Spore Germination Duration Unit Days


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Hairy / Hirsute, Rough
Foliar Modification Foliar Tendril
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Palmately Lobed

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Yellow / Golden
Flower Grouping Solitary
Flower Location Axillary

Image Repository



Master ID 31481
Species ID 5878
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 20 August 2021.