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snake gourd

Name of an elongated and narrow gourd, which twists and becomes orange-red as it ripens. Immature fruits can grow to a length of circa 150 centimeters, while mature fruits may reach a length of 200 centimeters. The vine this gourd grows from has several botanical designations, including Trichosanthes cucumerina var. anguina. The plant's flowers have five white petals with long branching hairs on the margins, resembling fluffy lace-like tips. In South Asia and Southeast Asia, it is eaten as a vegetable when still green and immature, though the reddish pulp of mature fruits can also be used as an economical substitute for tomatoes. In Myanmar, it is supposedly sometimes grown in long tubes to protect it against pests and to encourage an overall narrow and less twisted variety, while alternatively a weight may reportedly be attached to the bottom to stretch its form even more. The snake gourd is said to have some health benefits. It purportedly has the ability to improve the immune system, reduce fevers, and detoxify the body.