Winter melon facts


winter-melon-factsWinter melons are the large fruit which is consumed as a vegetable and are found during the cold seasons. Due to their large size, it is marketed in slice form. The young ones have sweet taste whereas the mature ones are tasteless. It is rich in water texture. It possesses a large seed.

Name Winter melon
Scientific Name Benincasa hispida
Native South Asia and Southeast Asia, now is widely cultivated throughout Asia, the Americas, Europe and Australia. During the Renaissance, Winter melon was introduced to Europe.
Common/English Name Wax Gourd, Ash Gourd, Chinese Water Melon, Chinese Preserving Melon, Joined Gourd, Gourd Melon, Tallow Gourd, Winter Melon, Winter Gourd, White Pumpkin
Name in Other Languages Burmese: Kyauk-Hpayon, Kyauk Pha-Yon Thee;
Czech: Tykev Vvosková;
Chinese: Pai Gua, Dong Gua;
Danish: Voksgræskar, Voksagurk;
Dutch: Waskalebas;
Eastonian: Vahakõrvits;
French: Pastèque De Chine, Courge Cireuse;
German: Wintermelone, Prügelkürbis;
Assamese: Komora, Kumora,
Bengali: Kumra, Chal Kumra,
Hindu: Gol-Kaddu, Raksa,
Kannada:  Boodu Gumbala, Kooshmaanda,
Malayalam: Cumbulam, Kumpalam,
Marathi:  Kohala,
Mizoram: Maipawl,
Sanskrit: Brhatphala, Kushmanda,
Tamil: Alattuppucini, Ven Poosani,
Tulu: Karkumbuda,
Telugu: Budidegummadi, Pendligummadikaaya,
Urdu: Petha;
Aceh: Kundur, Kundo,
Bugis: Kunrulu,
Dayak: Butong,
Gayo: Gundur,
Irian Jaya: Laha,
Javanese:  Baligo, Bligo Semangka,
Lampung: Sardak,
Madurese: Kundur, Bhaligho,
Malay: Beligu, Kundur,
Minangkabau: Kundue,
Nias: Undru,
Simalur: Kudul,
Sundanese: Baligo, Leyo;
Italian: Zucca Della Cera;
Japanese: Togan, Togwa;
Khmer: Trâllach;
Korean: Dong A;
Laotian: Tônx,  Mak Ton;
Malay: Kundur, Kundor,
Iban: Ensengai, Celau;
Nepalese: Petha, Kubiindo;
Pakistan: Petha;
Bikol: Rodal,
Bisaya: Tibiayon, Kandol,
Iloko: Tabungaw,
Ivatan: Kondol,
Kapampangan: Kundul,
Subanum: Tabugok,
Sulu: Kundal,
Tagalog: Tambulok, Kondol;
Portuguese: Abóbora D’água, Comalenge;
Singapore (Hokien): Tang Kua;
Spanish: Calabaza China, Calabaza Blanca;
Sri Lanka (Sinhalese): Puhul;
Taiwanese: Dangguev;
Thai: Faeng, Fak, Mafak Mon;
Tibetan: Ku-Sma-Nda-Ka;
Turkish: Mom Kabagi;
Vietanamese: Bí Dao, Bi Xanh.
Plant Growth Habit Annual, hispid, robust, monoecious climbing
Growing Climate Warm tropical and subtropical
Soil Well-drained, light, friable
Plant Size 1-2 m. (3-6 ft.)
Lifespan Long shelf life
Stem Terete, thick, furrowed and coarsely hairy
Leaf Rounded or kidney-shaped, Diameter: 10 – 25 centimeters, 5-7 lobed, heart-shaped at base
Edible parts of the plants Fruit: It is consumed as vegetables. The raw ones are consumed like sliced cucumbers. It is also consumed as fruit drink which have distinctive taste.
Pulp: The pulp could be preserved in the form of sweet candies and pickles.
Shoots, tendrils and leaves: It is fried, boiled or cooked and consumed as greens.
Flower buds: It is used in sayur or in the form of sepan.
Seeds: Seeds are eaten by roasting or frying as snack foods.
Flowering Season July – September
Flower Large, yellow, hairy bell-shaped calyx tube
Fruit shape & size Ovoid or ellipsoid, length: 25 – 40 cm
Fruit weight 30 pounds
Fruit color Green with chalky white wax
Flesh color White
Fruit peel Thin
Flavor/aroma Mild aroma, not prominent
Fruit Taste Sweet
Seed Flat, ovate – elliptic, ridged and yellowish brown
  • Giant Wax Gourd
  • Small Round
  • Winter Melon Round
  • Winter Melon Oblong
Fruit Season Cold
Major Nutritions Total dietary Fiber 3.8 g 10.00%
Sodium, Na 147 mg 9.80%
Zinc, Zn 0.81 mg 7.36%
Iron, Fe 0.53 mg 6.63%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) 0.053 mg 4.42%
Phosphorus, P 25 mg 3.57%
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 0.046 mg 3.54%
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) 0.176 mg 3.52%
Manganese, Mn 0.077 mg 3.35%
Copper, Cu 0.03 mg 3.33%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 0.528 mg 3.30%
Magnesium, Mg 13 mg 3.10%
Carbohydrate 3.96 g 3.05%
Calcium, Ca 25 mg 2.50%
Vitamin B9 (Folate, Folic acid) 7 µg 1.75%
Health Benefits
  • Prevents migraines
  • Eye health
  • Digestive health
  • Heart health
  • Reduce the chances of stroke
  • Eliminates free radicals
  • Prevents flu and cold
  • Maintains energy levels
  • Maintains the cognitive function
Calories in 1cup (132 gm) 17 Kcal.
Traditional uses
  • All parts are used for medicinal purposes.
  • In the Ayurvedic system of medicine, Winter melon is used as vital ingredient in Kusmanda lehyam in order to treat nervous disorders and epilepsy.
  • Ayurveda recommended Winter melon to treat peptic ulcers.
  • In India, the fruit is used to treat ailments such as dyspepsia, gastrointestinal problems, asthma, burning sensation, heart diseases, cough, ulcers, diabetes mellitus, and urinary diseases.
  • It is used in the form of antidote for vegetable poisons as well as to treat hiccough, asthma, insanity, cholera, anthelmintic, delicacies, cough, diabetes in Sri Lanka,
  • Winter melon was used to cure diuresis diseases and diabetic compilations in Korea.
  • In China, Winter melon is used for the purpose of skin softening and moisturizing, to treat facial blemishes, anti-aging skin and anti-wrinkle properties, and also to prevent sun damage.
  • In traditional Chinese medicine, Winter melon is used to treat inflammation and hypertension.
  • In China, the peel of dried fruit is used for thirst and oliguria, oedema with oliguria caused from summerheat.
  • The fruit also used as tonic, diuretic, laxative and cooling.
  • In the Philippines, it is used as demulcent, astringent and styptic and also treats tuberculosis.
  • The seed is used in the form of vermifuge.
  • Winter melon has proteins so, it should be eaten in less amount because it may cause indigestion. Mint leaves, jeera, cloves, dry ginger act as antidote for the side effects of Winter melon.
  • Pregnant women should avoid the consumption of cooling food such as winter melon during the initial months.
How to Eat
  • Winter melon could be simmered, steamed, parboiled or braised and added to stir-fries.
  • It could be added to the soups with strong herbs and spices.
  • Winter melon may also be candied and diced.
Other Facts
  • The seeds of Winter melon eliminate the melanin in the body which assists in improvement of beauty as well as wetness of the skin.
  • It helps the people with diabetes, kidney problems, overweight, coronary heart disease and high blood pressure.
  • Winter melon also clears out and detoxifies phlegm and mucus by improving digestion.
  • The leaves of Winter melon if rubbed on bruises help to heal them and the seeds could help in eliminating the  intestinal worms.

Winter melon (Benincasa hispida)Scientific Classification

Scientific name Benincasa hispida
Kingdom Plantae
Subkingdom Tracheobionta
Order Violales
Family Cucurbitaceae
Subfamily Cucurbitoideae
Tribe Benincaseae
Subtribe Benincasinae
Genus Benincasa Savi
Species Benincasa hispida
Super division Spermatophyta
Division Magnoliophyta
Class Magnoliopsida
Sub Class Dilleniidae