Trichosanthes cucumerina var. anguina ‘White Glory’ (Snake Gourd) [8 Seeds]

$4.25

Germination Information: Please be aware that snake gourds can be challenging to start from seed. In my experience, correctly nicking the hard seed coat is an important step in getting good sprouting. It’s not enough to just take a little chip out of it; you need to nip away enough to get all of the way into the middle, but not so much that you damage the embryo. If you leave me a note with your order, I will nick the seeds for you before I pack them. Keep in mind, though, that the embryo can then dry out, so I wouldn’t recommend this unless you are ready to sow the seeds as soon as you receive them. Soaking the seeds for a day or so after nicking can also help to encourage sprouting. Start the large seeds, about 1 inch deep, indoors in a warm place (a heat mat is a big help) in early to mid spring or outdoors a week or two after your last frost date. I started my own nicked-and-soaked seeds indoors, in a pot on a heat mat, on April 1, and they began sprouting on April 13; your experience will likely vary.

Some people report getting good results by starting the seeds on a moist paper towel in a plastic bag, then potting up the seeds as they germinate, so that’s another option to consider. I haven’t tried that myself, though.

Note that this information will not appear on the seed packet you receive.

Please read the description as well before ordering.

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Description

For something different in the vine department, look no further than snake gourd or serpent gourd (Trichosanthes cucumerina var. [or subsp.] anguina). It has so many interesting features: handsome, deep green leaves, showy flowers, and eye-catching fruits too. The white summer flowers (separate males and females, but both on the same plant) have five petals, each tipped with long tendril-like extensions that curl up during the day and unfurl at night. The pollinated females develop into long, slender, soft-skinned fruits that are usually dark green striped with white. I acquired these seeds as ‘White Glory’, and they produce pale green fruits. As they mature, they gradually turn orange. On my plants, the vines reached about 12 feet in length, and longest fruit reached about 14 inches. When the fruits are fully orange, they get soft toward the top and squishy at the lower end; when cut open, the squishy part is filled with a bright red pulp and large seeds.

The entire plant is quite ornamental, and it seems a shame to remove any of the fruits from the vine, but if you are feeling adventurous, you could explore the edible qualities as well. The shoots, leaves, and young fruits are apparently edible when cooked, and the red pulp in the fully mature fruits can be used as a tomato substitute (it does look and smell somewhat tomato-y) in soups, stews, and other cooked dishes. I have to admit that I didn’t try eating any of the fruits myself, or the red goo when cleaning the seeds. I encourage you to do some research before eating anything unusual like this. There’s a bit more information here to get you started.

Collected in September 2022. At least 8 seeds.

Please read the germination information as well before ordering.

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