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Coccinia (Caudex)


Its name derives from Greek and literally means "red", referring to the characteristic color of its large fruit, for which it is also commonly called "scarlet gourd". This plant has a characteristic massive caudex, which acts as a water reservoir for drought periods, from which annual climbing branches and often serrated leaflets branch off. It is also called "ivy gourd", to indicate its characteristic climbing habit and its origin from the same family of gourds. In addition to being exploited for its many ornamental properties, it has many other functions: in the places of its origin it is used for the nectar that the leaves produce, it is an excellent source of carotenoids, its woody tuber is used for food, as long as it's rich in starch; its large red fruits are edible both raw and cooked, the famous curry is produced from those fruits. Moreover, Coccinia also has traditional medicinal properties: in the areas of its origin it is widely used to treat skin rashes, burns, infections and asthma; even the studies conducted in our continent (although still in progress) have ascertained in these plants some antimicrobial and antioxidant properties!