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snake cucumber

Name of a small bulbous member of the gourd family, that grows from a tropical vine. It is grown for its edible fruits, which are also known as ivy gourds and wild snake gourds, not to be confused with snake gourds (fig.). Immature fruits are green and hard, and turn soft and red in colour as they ripen. Hence is also nicknamed the scarlet gourd (fig). The gourds are rich in beta-carotene and vitamins, and have some medicinal value in traditional medicine, where they are used to treat fever, asthma, bronchitis, jaundice and leprosy. A paste made of leaves of the vine is used to treat scabies. It is eaten as a vegetable when still green and immature. The young shoots of this vine are also edible. The gourds grow to a length of only a few centimeters. The botanical name of this vine, which bears white flowers, is Coccinia grandis. In Thai, it is known as tamleung (ตำลึง) and used as an ingredient in kaeng khae (แกงแค), a northern Thai curry which as main ingredient uses wild betel leaves (fig.), that are known in Thai as bai chaphlu. In Myanmar, it is known as kainn pone pain and kainn pone thee. The common names snake cucumber and wild snake gourd derive from the fact that this fruit is allegedly also consumed by certain snakes.