Friday, September 11, 2009

Dancing Snake Gourd

The most unusual plant in my garden this year has got to be the Dancing Snake Gourd. (Trichdsanthes cucumerina) I chose this in honor of his majesty, Prince, who inspired my garden this year. (Have a look at the dance sequence in the "Little Red Corvette" video if you're wondering where this reference came from.)

This plant was weird from the beginning. Look at the bug-like seeds:

They were slow to germinate, and I planted them late, but when I got home from vacation I was so excited to see that the vines (which were planted in an Earthbox) had pretty much taken over a whole corner of my deck, and they were in full bloom.
The flowers are white and about 3-4 inches across with hairy white tendrils on the edge of the petals.
How can I describe the smell? They smell wonderful -- like lilacs!

They're natives of Malaysia. So far the largest fruit I have is about 7", but these gourds have been known to grow as big as 5 feet! Only two have shown up on my vines so far. They can be peeled, cooked and eaten and have also been known to be used as a soap substitute.

Any strange characters in your garden this year?


Lzyjo said...

Interesting! I haven't heard of this one. The flowers are gorgeous!

Talon said...

I've got nothing to compare to the uniqueness of this! Great shots! Neat that it's got a nice fragrance. Those are such unusual blooms.

Bangchik and Kakdah said...

It's quite unique. Most gourds has yellow blooms, but this flower is really flowery!!... Bangchik

our friend Ben said...

Whoa! Between the seeds and the flowers, this is one freaky plant! I can't wait to hear how you cook the gourds and what you think of them!

tina said...

I've never even heard of this! It is way cool and thanks for describing all the parts.

tut-tut said...

Vining things grow so fast here; maybe I'll try this one next year.

Rosemary said...

That's beautiful! Where did you get the seeds?

Anonymous said...

Wonderful to have a series of pictures like that.

Voting open at the Virtual book Club for choosing next book!

Frances said...

Oh how cool! Big Prince fan here too, still love *Kiss* as the best dance song ever! Can't wait to see the final length of your gourd. The flowers are neat too. Must look for that one. ;-)