Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Coccinia grandis

Cute’cumber is the name I called this small cute cucumber.   It is about 5cm in length, only a mere 1-fifth of normal cucumber ( Cucumis  sativus ).  Despite its miniature size, it looks almost like a cucumber, tastes just as similar.  

Cute’cumber , is in fact a not-so-far relative of cucumber.  They are of  the same subfamily of Cucurbitoideae, of the family of Cucurbitaceae.  Cucumber is from the Melothrieae tribe ; while cute’cumber is from the Benincaseae tribe, together with watermelon. 

It is a native of wide range of Asia.  In India, it is known as tindora, and many other names, varied from various dialects and languages.  In English, it is called Ivy gourd.   Botanically, it is known as Coccinia grandis, synonym Cephalandra indica.

C. grandis is a dioecious perennial herbaceous vine.  Stem glabrous.  Tendrils simple, axillary.  Leaves alternate, simple, 5-lobed, 3-8 glands near the base.  Inflorescence solitary, white corolla, 5-lobes, 3 stamens, inferior ovary with 5-lobes.  Fruit a berry, smooth, green, red when ripened.

Propagation via cuttings and seeds.

C. grandis is considered a weed in Hawaii, and some other places. 

In India, and S.E.Asia, its young shoots and fruits are consumed as greens. 
Young leaves and shoots are cooked and eaten as veg.
Green mature fruits are eaten fresh in salad, or stir-fried, or cooked in curries.
Ripened fruit is eaten raw.

It contains polyprenol ( C0-polyprenol (1) ) which is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimutagenic, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antiprotozoal, antiulcer, hepatoprotective, expactorants, analgesis, antiinflamatory.
It is also a god source of several micronutrients, vitamins A and C.

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