Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tindora (Coccinia grandis)

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.

Tindora is a climbing vine which attaches itself by tendrils. The leaves are palmate and about 3 to 4 inches across. Vines can grow up to 9 feet in length, branching at any point along the stem, and rooting if they touch the ground.

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!


Priscilla @ Homegrown Delight said...

That's an interesting cucurbit and I love the color. How neat that they're perennial. Are they sweet? How do you cook them? Have a great week!

Grower Jim said...

I like mine raw, but you can eat them steamed or sauteed with a little onion, garlic and turmeric. They are slightly sweet, especially the red ones, but most of the flavor comes from whatever you add when cooking.

Sheila O said...

I have a few of these plants growing, but they're not doing well. They are in the shade except for first thing in the morning. Now I know they need to be moved! So glad you posted about this plant!

Grower Jim said...

Sheila, mine are in full sun and very prolific!

Ian R said...

I've been looking online to order seeds and came across some people saying that tindora won't produce fruit the first year unless you start with a cutting. Have you found this true? I'd really like to add this to my perennial beds and hoping I don't have to wait a year for fruits... Thanks for the info.

Grower Jim said...

Ian, I grow the sterile variety so I can't verify anything about growing them from seed. My plant was grown by simple layering and did produce the first year.

Ian R said...

Jim, sorry i misread the post, I didn't realize you grew the sterile cultivar. I was worried about the invasiveness of the regular variety. Do you sell any starts or know when I can find some? Thanks!

Grower Jim said...

Ian, I won't have any ready to sell until late spring. The only other person I know that might have some is in Arcadia. It's not a very common vegetable here. Email me at the address in my profile if you want his contact info.

Grower Jim said...

For people in the Orlando, FL area, I do now have plants available to sell. Thank you!

Ian R said...

Hey Jim,
The plants I purchased from you are doing beautifully. Are you able to ship tindora at all?

Grower Jim said...

Ian, I'm not shipping them during the growing season, but I hope to be able to ship dormant, bare-root plants during the winter. Thank you!

Joseph said...

I'd love to get a bare root plant shipped...let me know if it's possible...Thanks, Joseph

Jeyashree said...

hi Jim, will you be shipping tindora cuttings now? Please let me know. I am interested in buying


Grower Jim said...

Everyone will be happy to know that I am now digging bare-root tindora crowns for shipping! This is the sterile cultivar that can not be grown from seed. Click on the link at the bottom of the post to place an order.
Thank you!

Ansa Suseelan said...

Could you please let us know how can we order? We have been trying to get Tindora vine for long, we live in Dallas, TX.

Grower Jim said...

Ansa Suseelan,
To order tindora you just click on the link that says "Buy tindora crowns here!".
Or you can click on the "Buy Plants" tab at the top of the page. It takes you to the same place.

cennis said...

Hey Jim, have you grown these from tip cuttings? I was getting passionflower cuttings and snipped a few of these before I came inside to read that people are mostly growing from seed or root crowns.

Grower Jim said...

Tip cuttings are difficult, but hardwood cuttings are easy.

Willow Top said...

I bought a dormant crown from Jim and it sprouted quickly. The late cool weather we had this late winter confused it for awhile and growth slowed. I am happy to say now back to warm weather my tindora has taken off growing again! Ordering from Jim was easy and he shipped it to me very quickly and care was taken to keep the plant safe and moist. Thankyou very much!


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