Edible parts - Fruit, Leaves, Seeds, Flowers, Vegetable
A pumpkin family plant. It is a creeping vine with tendrils. It is an annual plant. The stems are soft and round in cross section. The leaves are large and hang loose. They are dark green and kidney shaped. The edges of the leaves are entire. There are large nodes at the base of the leaf. The tendrils are fairly stout and are divided half way along their length into many branches. Male flowers are carried on long upright stalks. The 5 petals are united into a long yellow tube. The female flowers are larger than the male and are fewer in number and carried on shorter stalks. The fruit varies in size, colour and patterns on the skin.
They can be round, oval or flattened, with yellow, orange or green skin. The surface can be smooth and rough and warty. The flesh is yellow and edible. The seeds are in the centre. The seeds are white or brown. They are flattened but plump and have a slanting scar at the top. The seeds are edible. (C. moschata does not have hairy stems but has fruit with a stalk thickened near where it joins the fruit.) There are a large number of cultivated varieties.
A subtropical plant. They are grown throughout the tropical countries from sea level to 2400 m altitude. They need a fertile soil. C. moschata is better suited to coastal areas. They are frost sensitive but better suited to cooler areas than C. moschata. It can grow in arid places. It suits hardiness zones 8-11.