What are the pros? beauty, interest, process
What are the cons? rare, hard to find seeds
This is one of my favorite plants - both interesting and exquisitely beautiful while growing. The delicately haired white star flowers have to be seen to be understood. Pair with red malabar spinach on a trellis for gorgeous effect.
The fruits really do look like snakes hanging. I let mine curl - easier to not lose in the foliage than other straight green cukes. Used fresh, they are like a tart English cucumber. I use them in stir fries, curries and stews, like tender zucchini. Beautiful and interesting; a must for children's and demo gardens.
Note: Very low germination rate (50%, sometimes lower) can be increased by soaking seeds overnight, and then nicking off one end to encourage cracking. (I resoak after nicking for a half hour or so). Keep soil warm while germinating, and be patient. Like many white flowers, they tend to be night pollinated by moths. Turn off your outdoor lights and plant primroses and thyme and other moth-encouraging cover if pollination is a problem.
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