What the heck am I growing here?

Helen_vancouver(z8 BC)September 2, 2002

OK. I've posted this in the veggie forum. But I thought I'd try it here too.

I got these seeds from an exchange back in April. And silly me, I threw away the package. All I remember is that it's supposed to be a winter squash. Any ideas?

The leaves

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april9(3a)

Hi Helen,

Your melon remind me of the expensive "shark fin melon" from China Town.

-April

    Bookmark   September 3, 2002 at 7:32PM
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Helen_vancouver(z8 BC)

April:

Have you cooked with this melon before? How is it used? One of my neighour said the same thing. But I have never seen this melon before.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2002 at 11:14AM
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Helen_vancouver(z8 BC)

Okay,

I've cut it open and this is what it looks like

    Bookmark   September 9, 2002 at 11:11PM
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april9(3a)

I don't know how to eat the "sharp fin melon" but it sits next to chinese winter melon in the veggie stand. Just by looking at the cut up in the picture, it really looks like a winter melon. How big is that baby? Why don't you use it for soup? lean pork or chicken ,chinese mushroom and dry scallosp. I bet it will be delicious.

BTW in Chinese melon=squash. I have no intention to tell all of you to cook a honey dew melon or water melon.

-April

    Bookmark   September 10, 2002 at 8:06PM
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Andy_Japan(z9)

Helen, I saw this at the supermarket today. I think, lol. It's called tougan in Jpanaese, benincasa hispida is the botanical name and the everyday name is winter melon--but I could be wrong. Anyway the produce lady said it doesn't have much flavor and is used as one of the many possible "gu" or things you add to miso soup, or other soups or stews.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2002 at 11:21PM
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Helen_vancouver(z8 BC)

I don't think it's winter melon since the outside is verigated. Also, my bf thought it smelled like cucumber x cantalope.. a Can-a-cuck.. lol

Ah well, I think I'll try and cook it like a winter melon and see if it taste any good. And the rest I'll treat it like winter squash.. Stay tune!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2002 at 1:18AM
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Andy_Japan(z9)

Helen, take a look at this. (I'm not sure what you mean by "variegated.")

Here is a link that might be useful: Japanese tougan

    Bookmark   September 12, 2002 at 1:36AM
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Helen_vancouver(z8 BC)

Hi Andy,

Nope, I'm afraid that's not the melon. The one I have shape and look like a watermelon. By variegated, I mean the dark green and light green lines running across the melon.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2002 at 8:26AM
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nlbenj(caz9)

My husband (who's Chinese) says that it's a squash and that his mother makes soup out of it. He can't remember the name, but it might start with a "D".

    Bookmark   September 15, 2002 at 6:17PM
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Helen_vancouver(z8 BC)

Hey April!

You're so right! It is a shark fin melon. My friend said to stem the melon, scoop out the meat and use it as a sub for shark fin! It has the texture of a speghetti squash. Hmmm.. poor man's delight!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2002 at 11:24AM
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melati(5)

Helen
SO... when are we going to have the shark fin soup? LOL

    Bookmark   September 18, 2002 at 1:44PM
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manja

I think it's winter melon (despite the whitish appearance on the outside). Definitely used in Chinese soups.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2003 at 8:24PM
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Violet_Z6(6a)

I'm pretty sure that's cucurbita ficifolia... alcayota, malabar gourd, figleaf gourd, or cidra are other names for it. Makes good jam.

-Kristy

    Bookmark   April 18, 2003 at 2:23PM
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lunita(9)

Kristy,

I belive you might have it!

Can anyone else confirm?

Thank you!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2003 at 7:27PM
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Violet_Z6(6a)

Not sure if it helps, Violet, but I showed the pictures to my husband and he agreed that the photo and the description of the texture sounds like what he knows as alcayota (he's from Chile, and they sell alcayota jam there, on the shelf right next to strawberry or blackberry jam). The flesh of C. ficifolia has a very stringy texture to it.

-Kristy

    Bookmark   April 18, 2003 at 9:49PM
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markferon(7a)

Kristy,

Thank you and your husband for the additional comments. Further research on that melon did wasn't strong in confirming the "stringy" attribute of the insides.

It's amazing how wide and varied the recipes for this melon are in other countries!

Kristy, what do you grow in your garden?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2003 at 10:37PM
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Violet_Z6(6a)

Including these responses from the vegetable forum here for an FYI:

Posted by: lunita 9 (My Page) on Fri, Apr 18, 03 at 14:06 I'm pretty sure that's cucurbita ficifolia... alcayota, malabar gourd, figleaf gourd, or cidra are other names for it. Makes good jam.

-Kristy

RE: Help with melon identification please:

Kristy,

I belive you might have it!

Can anyone else confirm?

Thank you!

RE: Help with melon identification please:

Not sure if it helps, Violet, but I showed the pictures to my husband and he agreed that the photo and the description of the texture sounds like what he knows as alcayota (he's from Chile, and they sell alcayota jam there, on the shelf right next to strawberry or blackberry jam). The flesh of C. ficifolia has a very stringy texture to it.

-Kristy

RE: Help with melon identification please:

Kristy,

Thank you and your husband for the additional comments. Further research on that melon did wasn't strong in confirming the "stringy" attribute of the insides.

It's amazing how wide and varied the recipes for this melon are in other countries!

Kristy, what do you grow in your garden?

RE: Help with melon identification please:

  • Posted by: markferon 7a (mfox167@comcast.net) on Fri, Apr 18, 03 at 22:37

it is a melbar melon

    Bookmark   April 29, 2003 at 3:33PM
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Anna82

it is a melbar melon

    Bookmark   August 19, 2003 at 5:37AM
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Violet_Z6(6a)

My mum is growing these in the back garden, they are definitely shark fin melons!!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2003 at 10:16AM
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winane(z9 CA)

Anna,

Welcome to Gardenweb. Where are you located? Do you know when you planted them? Have you had a good harvest? Any information you can provide will help the rest of us in the future...

;)

    Bookmark   August 19, 2003 at 11:41AM
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winane(z9 CA)

It is amazing how many different areas of the world this melon is popular except in the United States. We grew this melon for several years and it has definitely had unbelievable yields. We were introduced to this melon by my aunt who claims it is suppose to assist with the sugar levels in diabetics. (My dad was a diabetic.) I don't know if there is truth to that. But since my dad has passed away, this melon has been part of my family's weekly meals. Hahahah...we have "shark fin melon soup" every week. Heck I think 4 plants yielded us over 200-300 huge basketball sized melons!!! And they keep for several years in the garage. My bf and I opted not to grow them this year because we still have about 30 of them in the garage still yet. I suppose mom will "encourage" us to plant several seeds next spring. There goes my winter squash patch...hahahah. Yes...instead of the "mother melon" as we have nicked named this malabar melon, we have planted and are currently harvesting six varie

    Bookmark   August 20, 2003 at 3:21AM
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Anna82

oops...i have a fast enter finger..anyhows..we have six varieties of winter melons...jumbo pink banana, 2 varieties of butternut, buttercup, lakota, sweetmeat, kabocha and spaghetti squash..yums!!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2003 at 9:44AM
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Violet_Z6(6a)

Hello Violet Z6....I'm located in the South of England. I don't remember when my mum planted the seeds but she must have started doing it about 4-6month ago. The seeds are big black and flat..we do have some still. They are not that easily grown as only 3 seeds actually made it to plant stage (can you tell i'm not a gardener!). Well anyway out of the 3 plants only one plant has produced melons. At the moment we has 2 fully grown ones and 2 on the way. My mum friend who gave her the seeds has successfully grown a lot more. This I believe is because hers are in the ground where as ours are in Big pots. I hope this helps. I do have pictures if people are interested. :D

    Bookmark   August 21, 2003 at 2:37PM
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Anna82

Anna82,

What zone are you in? It's interesting you had limited germination. How did you sprout them? Indoors? Outdoors? What time of the year? In what type of growing medium?

Yes, keeping them in pots will definitely inhibit thier full growth potential. This is just one of many factors which can affect the size of the plant and number of melons.

Pictures? Oh yes! We'd love to see them!

:)

Violet

    Bookmark   August 21, 2003 at 5:48PM
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Violet_Z6(6a)

Hi Violet. I live in England aka United Kingdom so not really in a Zone, But I live in a county called Hampshire.
In answering your questions, I think my mum put the seeds on wet cotton wool...indoors....till they sprouted roots then planted them in normal compost, big bags you buy from garden centres....no idea what kind. This was all done spring time (March/April).
I'm not sure how you put pics in the forum, perhaps you know? Well I could email them to you if you don't mind telling me your address. You can give me your verdict! My mum does plan to try again next year but this time planting them into the ground!!
My mum and dad are sampling the first one tomorrow!!!
:) Anna

    Bookmark   August 29, 2003 at 11:10AM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Oops! Hi Anna,

You can email me by clicking on my name which goes to my member page. There are several online sites where you can upload photos and have your own photo album.

So, how did the tasting go?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2003 at 11:19PM
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Violet_Z6(6a)

Violet & Anna:
Hampshire is zone 7b/8

The fact you can store the melons for so long intruges me. I think I need to grow some.
The question is, how much space do the vines take up? I am limited on growth space right now...

Thanks!
girlgroupgirl

    Bookmark   September 3, 2003 at 12:00AM
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winane(z9 CA)

They take up quite a bit of room, well... a lot of room if you don't pinch them back and let them sprawl on the ground. Unless you can go up, count on a significant amount of space.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2003 at 4:48AM
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Rizz(NC)

girlgroupgirl,

we grew 4 plants last year. it took up the space of 6 parked car lengths...they grow preettyyy far! and you also need a long growing season for the melons to mature. best of luck...we skipped a year growing these cause we still have the melons in the garage from last year!

happy gardening!
win

    Bookmark   September 3, 2003 at 12:20PM
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winane(z9 CA)

hi
Just found this on-line. Hopefully someone can make use of it.

Sweet Shark's Fin Melon Soup

250g sharkÂs fin melon (yee chee kuah)
1 lohan guo (buddhaÂs fruit)
75g dried longan flesh
4Â5 pitted red dates
175Â200g rock sugar
2 pandan leaves, shredded and knotted
2 litres water

Peel the melon and remove the seeds. Cut and remove the shredded portion of the melon (these are known as the sharkÂs fin part of the melon) into small pieces.

Break the lohan guo into pieces. Combine all ingredients in a deep pot. Add in water and bring to a boil.

Simmer the over a medium-low heat for 50 minutes to an hour. Dish out into individual bowls and serve hot. (The meaty part of the melon resemble sharkÂs fin.)

    Bookmark   September 3, 2003 at 11:54PM
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Rizz(NC)

rizz..thanks for the recipe..will have to try it next time we crack open a melon!!

win

    Bookmark   September 5, 2003 at 9:25AM
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winane(z9 CA)

hi Winane,

Please share your thoght with the above recipe if you get a chance to crack another melon. By looking at the ingredient, it may taste a bit bland. My mom taught me that in order to sweet a soup, you 'll always need a big chunk of meat. Unless you're a vegetarian, maybe adding some meat (preferable pork), sugar, msg if you use it to the above ingredient may enhance the flavor of the soup.
Oh, and dont' forget to save the seeds on a really big rip one... : )

    Bookmark   September 5, 2003 at 12:54PM
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Rizz(NC)

Rizz,

The recipe you have above is for a 'sugary soup'. I only put meat in a soup if it is a 'with salt soup'. Hmmm...now I am getting hungry. Yes I'll let you know how it turns out the next time we crack one of them 'mom melons' open. And we have plenty of saved seeds available if anybody wants some!

Happy Gardening!
win

    Bookmark   September 5, 2003 at 4:45PM
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Rizz(NC)

winan:

Hi winanne,
Wow...thanks being so generours and offer your seeds. I"m new to the forum and I just started with gardening this spring with some mints and a dinky little longon seedling. , so I don't have much to offer you. I only have a packet of mixed color african daisy and swiss giants, mixed color Pansy. I got them at a local nursrey a few weeks ago. I"m not sure if you're interested in them. That's all I have. I would love to have some of those shark fin melon seeds and try to grow some of my own next year in our backyard. I"ve never even hear do of them before until I read this forum. My mom used to grow the regular winter melon when I was a kid, but now she's retired from gardening due to arthritis. I asked her if she's grown sharkfin melon before a few days ago. She had no clue what I was talking about and thinks I'm pulling her leg. Maybe with some seeds, I can show her what they look like. Is there anything esle I can offer you if you are not interested in the two seed packet I have. I live in NC.

thanks,
riz

    Bookmark   September 6, 2003 at 3:18PM
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winane(z9 CA)

hi winane:

I bought more seeds today. I hope there's something you like on this list:
Basil (siam queen)
Sunflower: vanilla ice (annual)
Sunflower: autumn beauty (mixed color)
Sweet pea (early flowering, mixed colors)
Sparaxix tricolor )colour fantasy)
Calenula (orange king)
dahlia (dwarf border mixed)
Dahlia (variabilis, mixed color))
thanks
riz

    Bookmark   September 7, 2003 at 12:53PM
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Anna82

rizz...ya have mail! hmmm..did ya say dahlia seeds?? hehehe

    Bookmark   September 9, 2003 at 4:53PM
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Anna82

Hi violet. The tasting went well...reminds me of cucumber!!!! Did you get my pics?....Well since those there is a massive one growning!!!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2003 at 1:11PM
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Violet_Z6(6a)

Violet...i sent you pictures but the email bounced back....humm

    Bookmark   September 10, 2003 at 5:47PM
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Faith_LA(Los Angeles, CA)

Hi Anna,

If you go to your member page and add your email (it doesn't have to be visible if you don't want it to be) then I can try to email you. The picture may have been too large...

:)

Violet

    Bookmark   December 13, 2003 at 3:56AM
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Violet_Z6(6a)

Hi!
Is anyone growing Lo Han Kuo plants to use the fruits as a low calorie sweetener?

Thanks!

Faith Arnold

    Bookmark   March 30, 2004 at 12:39PM
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ntt_hou

Faith,

Do you use the Lo Han Kho as a sweetener?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2004 at 10:55PM
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meixue(10 CA, Bay Area)

Do you really want to grow Lo Han Kuo? I'm asking because you can purchase the fruit from a local herbalist store or even in some supermarket. If not, they're also sold as pallet that you can melt in hot water to dissolve as a beverage.

You don't want to over taking these. Beside of many other health reasons that it is used, it's used also for balancing excess yang (heat). If you have too much of it, you will have excess of yin (cold) and it can result in having diarrhea.

Here's my experience in using the Lo Han Kuo. Whenever I have excess of heat, I break out. I use the pallets type and there's 2 pallets per small package. I mix both pallets with hot water in an 8-12 oz glass. I can only drink one glass a day and drink it for 2 days. If I drink more, right away, I get diarrhea. That's my limit of using Lo Han Kuo. So, you can see, it is quite easy to get overdose with it.

However, everyone's limit is different; so, be cautious if you're taking it. Remember... "Too much of the good think can kill you".

    Bookmark   April 15, 2004 at 3:09PM
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Violet_Z6(6a)

Is lohan guo buddhas hand? That lemon relative? I cant figure out what it is. I'm going to tru the soup. Does anyone know what the melon is called in chinese? ___ Gua?
Thanks
Meixue

    Bookmark   April 15, 2004 at 4:43PM
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lady_bug(Z5 SW Chicago)

lohan guo is buddhaÂs fruit

sharkÂs fin melon is yee chee gua

    Bookmark   May 26, 2004 at 3:15AM
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winane(z9 CA)

Winane,

Would you have any more of the shark fin melon seeds? I would love to surprise my parents with these. I don't have much to trade in the way of seeds - I've found much of my asian vegetable seeds had poor or non-existent germination rates. I bought these in the chinese grocery stores in Dallas lsat year.

Betty

    Bookmark   May 27, 2004 at 1:27PM
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Violet_Z6(6a)

Hi Betty,

Yes we have plenty of these seeds. Anybody who is truely interested in cultivating these melons please email me.

Hey Violet nice to see you again :) Oh the Gai Gei cuttings did really well :)

Win

    Bookmark   May 27, 2004 at 3:08PM
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winane(z9 CA)

Hi Win...

Good to hear your cuttings have a happy home. Have they produced berries for you yet?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2004 at 6:53PM
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nuxindica

hey violet,

no i never even knew about the berries..hehehe..i've always cut them down before they produced berries..i will have to watch for them this year.

thanks again.
win

    Bookmark   June 10, 2004 at 8:21PM
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bruglover(Gulf States)

It is indeed Cucurbita ficifolia, known in Southern Mexico as chilacayote. I just tasted a drink made from it in the Etla market. Brown from the sugar, bits of flesh and seeds floating in it. I wish I knew how to send a picture with this message.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2004 at 10:19PM
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Green_Lover(z5 NY)

I thought I read somewhere that these chilacayote are also grown for their edible seeds.

Anybody know about this? If they're really productive, you'd sure have a lot of seeds.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2004 at 12:44AM
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pincher1(N.Y.)

Winane, can you please give me some tips on how to grow shark fin melon ? this is my first year growing them,they grow almost 20 feet long and still no flower on the vine yet,hope soon, do they flower late? do they have male and female on the same plant?i mean same vine. Suki

    Bookmark   July 23, 2004 at 6:13PM
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Loapopo(11 / hawaii)

it looks like earli dew melon the leaves look the same as mine growing now

    Bookmark   December 14, 2004 at 2:21AM
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Violet_Z6(6a)

Only have one vine. Roundup drift is killing one foot of the tip. It has many flowers but they seem to be all male. if the vine survive will it have any female flowers. Popo

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 7:02PM
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winter_rose(NE Vic Aus z5)

I'm sure you found this out but if the vine survives, it will send out other stems which will produce male flowers as well. Sometimes it takes a few weeks before both male and female flowers are on the vine at the same time. Patience is best.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 10:59PM
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chris_marshall(9b)

I have been trying to find the names of a melon I have in the kitchen called a jam melon in Australia or pie melon in NZealand? I think it could be the same one. Thanks for the information.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 8:49PM
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hwlee(South NY)

Hi,

I'm new to this forum which I discovered by accident - and new to the United States too.

I read your notice about sharkfin melon. I grew them in New Zealand and - as with your experience, they were fantastic! Now I'm in Florida and would really like to try growing them down here. Does anyone have any seeds available?

Just to be clear, as there there seem to be several different fruit under discussion on this thread. I'm after seeds of the 'lo shi gua' which looks like a large wintermelon but the cooked flesh separates into threads a bit like spaghetti squash, but more translucent.

Many thanks for your assistance,

Chris

    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 9:52PM
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