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Trichosanthes anguina L.
Trichosanthes cucumerina is a tropical or subtropical vine, raised for its strikingly long fruit, used as a vegetable, medicine, and, a lesser known use, crafting didgeridoos. Common names include snake gourd (var. anguina), serpent gourd, chichinga, and padwal. It is known as chichindo in Nepali, chhachindra in Oriya, chichinga or chichinge in Bengali, purla in Sambalpuri language, potlakaaya (పొట్లకాయ) in Telugu, pathola (පතෝල) in Sinhala, pudalankaai (புடலங்காய்) in Tamil, dhunduli in Assamese, paduvalakaayi (ಪಡುವಲ ಕಾಯಿ) in Kannada and padavalanga (പടവലങ്ങ) in Malayalam. In Southeast Asia, it is called patola in Tagalog.
Formerly, the cultivated form was considered a distinct species, but it is now regarded as a variety of the wild ancestor, as they freely interbreed:
- Trichosanthes cucumerina var. anguina (L.) Haines – cultivated variant
- Trichosanthes cucumerina var. cucumerina – wild variant
The narrow, soft-skinned fruit can reach 150 cm (59 in) long. Its soft, bland, somewhat mucilaginous flesh is similar to that of the luffa and the calabash. It is most popular in the cuisine of South Asia and Southeast Asia. The shoots, tendrils, and leaves are also eaten as greens.
- Trichosanthes cucumerina Linn. improves glucose tolerance and tissue glycogen in non insulin dependent diabetes mellitus induced rats
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