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The winter melon, also called white gourd or ash gourd, is a vine grown for its very large fruit, eaten as a vegetable. The fruit is fuzzy when young. By maturity, the fruit loses its hairs and develops a waxy coating, giving rise to the name wax gourd, and providing a long shelf life. The melon may grow as large as 80cm in length. The word "melon" in the name is somewhat misleading, as the fruit is not sweet. Originally cultivated in Southeast Asia, the winter melon is now widely grown in East Asia and South Asia as well.

Winter melon is also a common name for members of the Inodorus cultivar group of the muskmelon (Cucumis melo L), more commonly known as casaba or honeydew melons.


In China and Taiwan. the winter melon is used to make soup in the same way as daikon radishes, and is often combined with pork or pork/beef bones. In North Indiamarker and Pakistanmarker, the vegetable is used to prepare a candy called Petha. In South Indian cuisine it is used to make curries. Occasionally, it is used to produce a fruit drink which has a very distinctive taste. It is usually sweetened with caramelized sugar, which enhances the taste.

The winter melon requires very warm weather to grow but can be kept through the winter much like winter squash. The winter melon can typically be stored for 12 months. The melons are used in stir fry or to make winter melon soup, which is often served in the scooped out melon, which has been intricately decorated by scraping off the waxy coating.

The shoots, tendrils, and leaves of the plant may also be eaten as greens.

Winter melon is a common name for the inodorus cultivar group of the muskmelon (Cucumis melo L), or one of its members alternatively known as casaba, honeydew, or Persian.

Vernacular names

A small bowl of Chinese winter melon soup
A winter melon used as a serving bowl for winter melon soup
  • Assamese: komora
  • chal kumṛa (lit. "thatch pumpkin")
  • Burmese: kyauk pha-yon thee
  • Chinese: dōngguā (lit. "winter melon")
  • English: ash gourd, (Chinese) winter melon, fuzzy melon, green pumpkin, wax gourd, white gourd
  • French: courge cireuse, courgette velue (lit. "hairy zucchini")
  • German: Wachskürbis, Wintermelone (Benincasa hispida)
  • Hindi: पेठा peṭhā, pethakaddu
  • Ilocano: tabungaw
  • Indonesian: beligo
  • Japanese: とうがん tōgan (冬瓜, lit. "winter melon")
  • Kannada: boodagumbala
  • Kapampangan: Kundul
  • Korean: 동과 donggwa, 동아 donga (冬瓜, lit. "winter melon")
  • Malay: kundur
  • Malayalam: കുമ്പളങ്ങ kumbalanga
  • Marathi: कोहळा kohḷa
  • Portuguese: abóbora d’água (lit. "water pumpkin"), comalenge
  • Sinhala:පුහුල් Puhul
  • Taiwanese: dangguev (冬瓜, lit. "winter melon")
  • Tamil: neer poosanikai (நீர்பூசனி)
  • Tagalog: kundol
  • Telugu: booḍida gummadikaaya
  • Thai: ฟัก fak
  • Tulu: ಕರ್ಕು೦ಬುಡ karkumbuda
  • Urdu: پیٹھہ, peṭhā
  • Vietnamese: bí đao

See also

Konkani : KunwalayMarathi : Kowhala

External links


Image:Winter melon.jpg|Winter melon.

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