Benincasa hispida Thunb Cogn

[After Count Giuseppe Benincasa, a 16th century Italian botanist who founded the Botanic Garden at Pisa, and from Latin, hispidus = bristly]

Synonymy: Benincasa cerífera Savi.

Common names: Ash pumpkin, tallow gourd; kyaukpayon (Burmese); tung kua (Chinese); tougan (Japaneae); terak bileng, teraksayak, lepo ga (Malaysia); abobora de agua (Portuguese); bidao (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnamese); suphala (Sanskrit); pushini (Tamil).

Physical description: It is a climber native to tropical Asia which is cultivated mainly in warm countries. The plant has a musky smell. The stems are angular, 3mm-4mm in diameter and hispid. Leaves: simple, alternate and without stipules. The petiole is 6cm-8cm x 2 mm and hispid. The blade is palmately 5-lobed, very thin, and hispid underneath. The blade is serrate, and shows 5-6 pairs of

Fig. 111. Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn.

secondary nerves. The flowers are simple, axillary and showy. The flower pedicels are 5cm-10cm long and hispid. The calyx consists of 5 linear, 8 mm long hispid sepals. The corolla consists of 5 yellow, orbicular, very thin and showily nerved petals. The fruits are massive, 40cm long, ovate berries covered with a dense chalky white powder (Fig. 111).

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