Coccinia grandis is a perennial cucurbit commonly known as tindora or ivy gourd. The striped fruits are about 2 inches long and are edible raw or cooked. When approaching maturity, they start turning red from the inside out, and from the distal end of the fruit to the stem.
They are edible while still green and have a crunchy texture. As they turn red, the fruit becomes sweeter and very soft.
They make a very attractive addition to a vegetable tray. Young leaves and stems are also edible after cooking.
Even the thick roots are edible after cooking, and have a delicious flavor.
Flowers are white, open for a single day, and are about the same size as the leaves. Flowering and fruiting can occur nearly year-round in frost-free climates, but it is most productive during the warm months when the plant is in active growth. Male and female flowers occur on separate plants. The time from flower to harvest is about 2-3 weeks.
Coccinia grandis is native to tropical Asia and Africa, and is recommended for USDA Zones 8-11 (perennial in the coldest zones and evergreen in frost-free areas). It will grow in nearly any soil type, and needs full sun to be most productive.
Unharvested fruits drop seeds, and over time the offspring can become invasive. It has naturalized in tropical regions around the world, and is listed as a noxious weed in Hawaii and Western Australia.
There is a sterile cultivar that is preferred for home gardeners, and this is the variety that I grow. It produces parthenocarpic fruit, so no male plant is required. The seeds you see in the photo of the cut fruit above never develop fully, and are not viable.
According to WebMD, research suggests tindora might improve blood sugar control in patients with type 2 diabetes. Studies have also shown Coccinia grandis has anti-cholesterol, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer and anti-oxidant properties.
The dormant bare-root crowns are available for purchase during the winter months. The potted plants are available at my local markets year-round.
Buy tindora crowns here!