Wild desert gourd or colocynth – Citrullus colocynthis
The wild desert gourd, a member of the watermelon family, produces an 2.4- to 3- meter-long ground-trailing vine. The perfectly round gourds are as large as an orange. They are yellow when ripe.
Habitat and Distribution:
This creeping plant can be found in any climatic zone, generally in desert scrub and waste areas. It grows abundantly in the Sahara, in many Arab countries, on the southeastern coast of India, and on some of the islands of the Aegean Sea. The wild desert gourd will grow in the hottest localities.
The seeds inside the ripe gourd are edible after they are completely separated from the very bitter pulp. Roast or boil the seeds–their kernels are rich in oil. The flowers are edible. The succulent stem tips can be chewed to obtain water.