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snake gourd

rapid-growing vine (Trichosanthes cucumerina), of the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae), native to southeastern Asia and Australia but cultivated throughout the world for its edible, oddly shaped fruits. A snake gourd plant has two- or three-forked tendrils, white flowers that have long fringes on the petals. T. cucumerina has ovoid fruit 5 to 8 cm (2 to 3 inches) long, which when dried can be used as a soap substitute.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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