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Ridged luffa is a tropical running annual vine with rounded leaves and yellow flowers. The plant is diecious, having both male and female flowers. The rather large male flowers are bright yellow and occur in clusters. The female flowers are solitary and have the tiny slender ovary attached. The leaves are covered with short hairs and the fruits are ribbed and cylindrical shaped. It has ten longitudinal angular ridges and a tapered neck. Ridged luffa is very similar to L. Cylindrica which lacks the ridge. The young fruit is used as a cooked vegetable; although some gardeners grow Chinese okra for the fibrows interior. The fibrows netting is an excellent sponge but there are also industrial applications such as waterfilters. In Suriname's traditional medicine, a tea of the leaves is used as a diuretic, while juice of the fruit is used against internal hemorrhage. The seeds have laxative properties. Propagation: By seeds.
Very fast growing vine to 10-15ft. Vines may be ground dwelling, but grow best when give upward support. Care is similar to other gourds and melons. Water frequently, grow in full sun. If growing for sponges, allow the fruits to turn from green to yellow on the vine. Fruits will lose quite a bit of moisture and become light.
Luffa cylindrica is very similar to Luffa acutangula.
Fruits can be eaten, but the vine is most commonly grown for the fibrous interior of the fruits, which when dried, can be used as a sponge.
Propagation: By seed.
Melothria pendula or Creeping cucumber can easily be started from seed, but they may take time to germinate, anywhere from 2-6 weeks. Plant them in a location that that provides full sun or semi-shade, with ample room for the vine to crawl. Once planted ensure regular water and weed competition is kept at bay.
Be warned that as a deciduous perennial it will die down during winter, however in USDA Zone 9-11 the mature plant is cold hardy to at least 30F for a short time. Creeping cucumbers produce many yellow and orange flowers and are often used in landscapes. If grown in a pot, then regular watering is essential and during cold regions, bring them indoors for the winter. While the fruits of the creeping cucumber are edible and full of health benefits, it is not as productive as some other cucurbits. It can produce a fair amount of fruit, although the fruits remain quite small and the vines will only produce for a few weeks. The good part is that they keep producing over a longer time than most of the other cucumbers. The fruits contain an array of vitamins including vitamin B6 and vitamin C. They are also rich in dietary fiber and folates which both contribute towards good heart health. The fruits of the Melothria pendula also make an excellent pickling cucumber, can be used as an addition in salads, soups, or even made into a pickle relish.
Momordica charantia is an annual and has a creeping or climbing stem. The fruit is broadly egg shaped, beaked, bumpy, ribbed, to 10 cm long and golden yellow to bright orange. At maturity the fruit breaks, bursting open along the 3 valves. The orange pulp contains bright red arils which enclose the seeds.
Momordica charantia has been used extensively in folk medicine as a remedy for diabetes. In Ayurveda, the fruit is considered as tonic, stomachic, stimulant, emetic, antibilous,laxative and alterative. The fruit is useful in gout, rheumatism and subacute cases of the spleen and liver diseases. It has also been shown to have hypoglycaemic properties (anti-diabetic) in animal as well as human studies.
Plant in rich moist soil, in frost free areas, since bitter melon is very sensitve to frost. Do not water too much.
In cooler climates start planting in pots 6 weeks before the frost free date; transplant when there is no more danger of frost.
Chinese bitter-cucumbers are yellow to reddish orange in color and have pale, firm flesh. The Indian is darker and thinner than the Chinese, while the Thai is white when immature. If left on the plant to ripen completely, the fruit bursts open. The light brown seeds are embedded in white, cottony flesh; but the seed coverings do taste pleasantly sweet and are often used as a condiment.
Momordica Cochinchinencis is a traditional medicinal plant in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, China, the Philippines, and the Caribbean, and has been used since early time. It was commonly grown in gardens and gave red fruit with red pulp. This plant is quite familiar to women; they know perfectly how to conserve such fruits and make use of them for various purposes such as cooking glutinous rice with fresh pulp, making dried pulp candy, jam, for the treatment of blur eyes, malnutrition as they contain active substances (now called pre-vitamin A).It is a good vegetable to hollow out and fill; but also delicious is curries, pickled, stir-fried, and salads; but it needs to be blanched before using as it cannot be eaten raw.
It prefers a well-drained soil, plenty of water in growth and some sun. The caudex will grow to 30 centimetres in diameter.
The Sechium edule can be grown on the ground, but as a climbing plant, it will grow onto anything, and can easily rise as high as 12 meters when support is provided.
In the most common variety, the fruit is roughly pear-shaped, somewhat flattened and with coarse wrinkles, ranging from 10 to 20 cm in length. It looks like a green pear, and it has a thin, green skin fused with the green to white flesh, and a single, large, flattened pit. It is a true multi-purpose crop with edible fruit, edible leaves and edible tuberous roots. Some varieties have spiny fruits.
Sicana odorifera, commonly known as Cassabanana, is a tropical vine native to Brazil. It is a hardy, fast-growing climber that requires a supportive trellis, and can climb up to 2 feet. The foliage of this plant is a deep, glossy green, and it produces fragrant yellow and orange flowers from spring through summer. In USDA Hardiness Zone 6-10, the plant is a perennial and can thrive in full sun to semi-shade, and with moderate to regular watering.
In addition to its ornamental value, Cassabanana is a wildly versatile edible and ethnomedical plant, with a wealth of healthy benefits. Its cylindrical fruits are eaten fresh or in jams, jellies and other preserves, and can also be cooked as a vegetable or in soup and stews. This plant has been used medicinally as an astringent, diuretic, and to treat fever, bronchitis, and dysentery. The fruit of the Cassabanana vine is rich in vitamin C and dietary fiber, and is known to help regulate metabolism and aid in digestion. Each vine can produce up to 2.5 pounds of fruit in a growing season.
When growing Sicana odorifera in a pot, place in an area of full sun to semi-shade and keep the soil moist throughout the growing season. In colder regions, bring the plant indoors when temperatures drop and place in an area where it will receive plenty of sunlight.
Extremely rare and exotic! Telfairia occidentalis will climb up to 40 ft. The flowers are white with a dark purple centre. The large, dark-red seed is rich in fat and protein, and can be eaten whole, ground into powder for another kind of soup, or made into a fermented porridge. The fruit of the plant is large, weighing up to 20 lbs.