Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn.

Last updated: 16 April 2015

Scientific Name

Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn.


Benincasa cerifera Savi, Benincasa cylindrica Ser. [Invalid], Benincasa pruriens (Parkinson) Wilde & Duyfjes [Invalid], Benincasa vacua (F.Muell.) F.Muell., Cucurbita alba Roxb. ex Wight & Arn., Cucurbita farinosa Blume, Cucurbita hispida Thunb., Cucurbita littoralis Hassk., Cucurbita pruriens Parkinson [Invalid], Cucurbita pruriens Seem., Cucurbita vacua F.Muell., Cucurbita villosa Blume, Gymnopetalum septemlobum Miq. [1]

Vernacular Name


Kundor [2], kundor china, kundoe jawa [3][4]


Wax gourd, white gourd, Chinese preserving melon [2], white gourd, Chinese watermelon, ash gourd, tallow gourd, white pumpkin, ash pumpkin [3]


Dong gua, tung kua, pai kua, ti chih, shui chih [3]


Kumpalana, kumra, kunjaphala, kunmatakkay, kushmaanda lataa, kushmanda, kushmandaakan, kushmandi, kushpandaha, kusmanda, kusmandika, kusmantam, kuvindo, majdabh, mai-pawl, mainpawl,maipawl, makakumpi, makapalikakkoti, makapalikam, maruntitu, murriyapanni, mattupparanki, mattuppucani [4]


Kundur, bligo, kundo (Aceh) [2]


Fak, faeng (Central); mafaeng (Northern) [2]


Tônx [2]


Kondol (Tagalog); tibiayon (Bisaya); rodal (Bicol) [2]; gondola, kandol, kundal, malingga, rodal, sekoi, tabugok, tambulok, tangkoi, tangkua, tibaiaiong, tibiayon [4]


Trâllaach [2]


B[is] dao, b[is] xanh [2]


Toga [2][4]


Kuvindo [4]


Courge à la cire, courge cireuse [2]

Geographical Distributions

There is no general agreement on the origin of the Benincasa hispida. Indo-China and India are the centres of greatest diversity, but this plant is not known from the wild and no related with wild species are known. B. hispida and has been introduced to other tropical, subtropical and warm temperate parts of the world as well (e.g. the Caribbean). [2]

Botanical Description

B. hispida is a member of the familyCucurbitaceae [1]. It is a robust, annual, usually monoecious, hispid and climbing herb that can reach up to several metre long [2].

The stem is thick, cylindrical, furrowed longitudinally and whitish-green with scattered rough hairs. Its tendrils are inserted beside the leaves with 2-3-fid, measure 10-35 cm long and spirally coiled at the top where the two lateral arms are much shorter than the central one. [2]

The leaves are arranged simple and distichous. The petiole is 5-20 cm long. The leaf-blade is broadly ovate in outline, measuring 10-25 cm x 10-20 cm, deeply cordate at the base, acuminate at the apex, more or less deeply margin and irregularly 5-11-angular or -lobed and irregularly undulate-crenate or dentate-serrate, densely and with patently hispid on both side. [2]

The 5-merous unisexual yellow flowers are solitary in leaf axils, large and measuring 6-12 cm in diametre. The pedicel is a densely hispid, measures 5-15 cm long in the male flowers and measures 2-4 cm long in the female. The sepal is bell-shaped and densely silky. The petals are almost free. The male flowers are with 5 stamens, which 4 of these are in connate pairs. The female flowers are with densely villose ovoid or cylindrical ovary and a short style with 3 curved stigmas. [2]

The fruit is a large and stalked berry (pepo). It is ovoid-oblong, ellipsoid or spherical, measuring 20-60(-200) cm x 10-25 cm, dark green to speckled light green or glaucous, thinly hispid or subglabrous, covered with a chalk-white and easily removable layer of wax. Its flesh is 2-4 cm thick, white, succulent, slightly fragrant and spongy in the middle. [2]

The seeds are numerous, measuring 10-15 mm x 5-7 mm x 1-2 mm, flat, ovate-elliptic, yellow-brown and sometimes prominently ridged. [2]


There is some evidence that B. hispida has been cultivated in China since 500 AD. This plant is now widely cultivated throughout tropical Asia. [2]

B. hispida is best suited to the moderately dry areas of the lowland tropics. It is relatively drought-tolerant. It is grown in Southeast Asia from sea level up to 1000 m altitude. High soil temperatures are required for the optimum seed germination. The optimum temperature for growth is 23-28°C. The ratio of female to male flowers is increased by relatively cool weather and short days. [2]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

No documentation

Traditional Use

No documentation

Preclinical Data

No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of B. hispida (Thunb.) Cogn.[2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn.[homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2015 Apr 16]. Available from:
  2. Siemonsma JS, Piluek K, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 8. Vegetables. Wageningen, Netherlands: Pudoc Scientific Publishers, 1993; p. 82–86.
  3. Umberto Q. CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1999. p. 287.
  4. Umberto Q. CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology (5 Volume Set). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2012. p. 564.