Winter Melon is the only member of the genus Benincasa. The fruit is fuzzy when young. The immature melon has thick white flesh that is sweet when eaten. By maturity, the fruit loses its hairs and develops a waxy coating, giving rise to the name wax gourd, and providing a long shelf life. The melon may grow as large as 80 cm in length. Although the fruit is referred to as a “melon,” the fully grown crop is not sweet. It has yellow flowers and broad leaves.
It is native to South Asia and Southeast Asia. The winter melon is widely grown throughout Asia, including Java and Japan where it is thought to have originated from.
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