This article has been marked as incomplete and in need of reformatting. Please help us to improve it.

Practical Plants is a community wiki. You can edit this page to improve the quality of the information it contains. To learn how, please read the editing guide.


Edible uses


Fruit - raw or cooked[1][2]. Used as a vegetable, and in pickles, curries and preserves[3][4][5][6][7]. The fruit can be eaten when it is young or old[8], it can be picked as early as one week after fertilization[9]. A juicy texture with a mild flavour, the flavour is somewhat stronger in younger fruits[9]. Because of its waxy coating, it will store for several months, sometimes as long as a year[8][9]. Mature fruits can vary in weight from 2 - 50 kg[9]. A nutritional analysis is available[10].

Young leaves and flower buds are steamed and eaten as a vegetable, or are added as a flavouring to soups[7][11].

Seed - cooked[1][2][12][7]. Rich in oil and protein.




Material uses

A wax that coats the fruit is used to make candles[4][5][13]. The roots have considerable resistance to soil-borne diseases and they are sometimes used as a rootstock for melons and other cucurbits[9].
There are no material uses listed for Benincasa hispida.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The wax gourd has been used as a food and medicine for thousands of years in the Orient. All parts of the fruit are used medicinally.

The rind of the fruit is diuretic[10][13]. It is taken internally in the treatment of urinary dysfunction, summer fevers etc[13]. The ashes of the rind are applied to painful wounds[10]. The seed is anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, demulcent, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, laxative and tonic[10][13]. A decoction is used internally in the treatment of vaginal discharges and coughs[13][14]. In combination with Rheum palmatum it is used to treat intestinal abscesses[14]. In Ayurvedic medicine the seed is used in the treatment of coughs, fevers, excessive thirst and to expel tapeworms[14]. The oil from the seed is also used as an anthelmintic[15]. The fruit is antiperiodic, aphrodisiac, diuretic, laxative and tonic[15]. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine in the treatment of epilepsy, lung diseases, asthma, coughs etc[13]. The fruit juice is used in the treatment of insanity, epilepsy and other nervous diseases[15]. Recent research has shown that the fruits contain anti-cancer terpenes[13]. An infusion of the root is used in the treatment of gonorrhoea[10].

Demulcent, salve. Facilitates pus drainage[16][17][18].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions



Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - sow March/April in a greenhouse. Germination should take place within 3 weeks. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on fast in a rich compost in the greenhouse. Try to maintain a minimum night temperature of at least 10°c for the seedlings first few weeks[9]. Plant out in May/June after the last expected frosts[3].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Benincasa hispida. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Requires a warm sunny position in a rich well-drained soil and plenty of moisture in the growing season[3][11][13]. Established plants are reasonably drought tolerant[9]. Tolerates a pH in the range 5.8 to 6.8.

This species is not very frost hardy, it is best grown in a greenhouse in Britain[19] but can succeed outdoors in good summers if started off in a greenhouse and planted out after the last expected frosts. Plants require stable temperatures in excess of 25°c if they are to do well[11]. Short daylengths and lower temperatures stimulate female flower development, higher temperatures stimulate male flower production[11]. Plants take 5 months from seed to produce a mature crop, though the fruits can be eaten when immature[9].

The wax gourd is frequently cultivated for its edible fruit in the tropics, there are many named varieties[7]. One group, sometimes classified as B. hispids chieh-gua, is known as the hairy melon or jointed gourd. This form is grown for its immature fruit in much the same way as courgettes are used[9]. Mature fruits of this form do not develop a waxy coating[9]. The fruit can be harvested about 3 months after sowing[9].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Benincasa hispida. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Benincasa hispida.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Benincasa hispida
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Drought
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
None listed.
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
6 x meters
Flower Colour
Flower Type


  1. ? Komarov. V. L. Flora of the USSR. Israel Program for Scientific Translation (1968-00-00)
  2. ? Chakravarty. H. L. The Plant Wealth of Iraq. ()
  3. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  4. ? Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
  5. ? Vilmorin. A. The Vegetable Garden. Ten Speed Press ISBN 0-89815-041-8 ()
  6. ? 6.06.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
  7. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
  8. ? Brooklyn Botanic Garden Oriental Herbs and Vegetables, Vol 39 No. 2. Brooklyn Botanic Garden (1986-00-00)
  9. ? Larkcom J. Oriental Vegetables John Murray ISBN 0-7195-4781-4 (1991-00-00)
  10. ? Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
  11. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  12. ? 12.012.1 Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
  13. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
  14. ? Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
  15. ? Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (1986-00-00)
  16. ? 16.016.1 ? A Barefoot Doctors Manual. Running Press ISBN 0-914294-92-X ()
  17. ? 17.017.1 Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas. Institute of Chinese Medicine, Los Angeles (1985-00-00)
  18. ? 18.018.1 Stuart. Rev. G. A. Chinese Materia Medica. Taipei. Southern Materials Centre ()
  19. ? Organ. J. Gourds. Faber (1963-00-00)

Facts about "Benincasa hispida"RDF feed
Article is incompleteYes +
Article requires citationsNo +
Article requires cleanupYes +
Belongs to familyCucurbitaceae +
Belongs to genusBenincasa +
Functions asRootstock +
Has binomial nameBenincasa hispida +
Has common nameWax Gourd +
Has drought toleranceTolerant +
Has edible partFlowers +, Fruit +, Leaves + and Seed +
Has edible useUnknown use +
Has environmental toleranceDrought +
Has fertility typeSelf fertile + and Bees +
Has flowers of typeMonoecious +
Has hardiness zone10 +
Has lifecycle typeAnnual +
Has mature height6 +
Has medicinal partUnknown part +
Has medicinal useAnthelmintic +, Antiperiodic +, Aphrodisiac +, Cancer +, Demulcent +, Diuretic +, Expectorant +, Febrifuge +, Laxative +, Salve +, Tonic + and VD +
Has search namebenincasa hispida + and wax gourd +
Has shade toleranceNo shade +
Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
Has soil texture preferenceSandy +, Loamy + and Clay +
Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
Has sun preferenceFull sun +
Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
Has taxonomy nameBenincasa hispida +
Has water requirementsmoderate +
Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
PFAF edible use notes migratedNo +
PFAF material use notes migratedNo +
PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
PFAF toxicity notes migratedYes +
Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
Has subobjectThis property is a special property in this wiki.Benincasa hispida +, Benincasa hispida +, Benincasa hispida +, Benincasa hispida +, Benincasa hispida +, Benincasa hispida +, Benincasa hispida +, Benincasa hispida +, Benincasa hispida +, Benincasa hispida +, Benincasa hispida +, Benincasa hispida +, Benincasa hispida +, Benincasa hispida +, Benincasa hispida + and Benincasa hispida +