Anatomical and Phytochemical Studies on Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn. (Cucurbitaceae)


  • Chimezie EKEKE University of Port Harcourt, Faculty of Science, Department of Plant Science and Biotechnology (NG)
  • Chinedum A. OGAZIE University of Port Harcourt, Faculty of Science, Department of Plant Science and Biotechnology
  • Ikechukwu O. AGBAGWA University of Port Harcourt, Faculty of Science, Department of Plant Science and Biotechnology



amphistomatic, anatomy, Benincasa hispida, glandular trichome, hypostomatic, morphology, phytochemical


The morphological and anatomical studies of Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn. from Nigeria was carried out with the view to reporting morphological and anatomical characteristics for the first time. Physical and microscopic (microtomy) observations were used. B. hispida is a monoecious climbing or trailing herb, stem hairy, 5-angled, with suborbicular stipuliform bract at the petiole-base; leaves simple, very hairy on both surface, alternate, blade palmately or ovate in young plant, base cordate. Flowering occurs between April and May. Female flowers solitary, male flowers solitary or in a slender-pedunculate racemes, petals-5, cream, yellow or pale yellow, ovary ellipsoid, ovules many, stigma 3-lobed and stamen 3. Fruits are large, weighs 8.5 - 9.0 kg, succulent, densely hairy when young, with a thick waxy deposit when mature, cylindrical to oblong with hairy stalk. Seeds are ovate-obovate, cream. Leaves and petals of male flower are amphistomatic with anomocytic, tetracytic and anisocytic stomata while petals of the female flower are hypostomatic with anomocytic stomata only on the abaxial surface. It has glandular and non-glandular trichomes with uniseriate stalk, clavate and multicellular gland heads. The midrib, petiole, stem, tendril, male and female flower stalks and tendril have hollow pith with 3, 9, 6-7, 16, 14 and 10 bicollateral vascular bundles respectively. The percentage crude protein, ash, carbohydrate, lipid, crude fibre, alkaloid, flavonoid, tannin and phytate could account for the numerous medicinal properties.


Metrics Loading ...


Adebooye OC, Hunsche M, Noga G, Lankes C (2012). Morphology and density of trichomes and stomata in Trichosanthes cucumerina (Cucurbitaceae) as affected by leaf age and salinity. Turkish Journal of Botany 36(4):328-335.

Agbagwa IO, Ndukwu BC (2001). Epidermal micro-morphology of Cucurbita L. species in Nigeria. Journal of Applied Sciences and Environmental Management 5(2):59-64.

Agbagwa IO, Ndukwu BC (2004). Cucurbita L. species in Nigeria under-exploited food and vegetable crops. Niger Delta Biologia 4(2):11-15.

Agbagwa IO, Ndukwu BC, Mensah SI (2007). Floral biology, breeding system and pollination ecology of Cucurbita moschata (Duch. Ex Lam) Duch. Ex Poir. varieties (Cucurbitaceae) from parts of the Niger Delta, Nigeria. Turkish Journal of Botany 31(5):451-458.

Agogbua J, Ekeke C, Okoli BE (2015). Morpho-anatomical characters of Zehneria capillacea (Schumach) C. Jeffrey and Zehneria scabra (LF) Sond Cucurbitaceae. African Journal of Plant Science 9(12):457-465.

Agogbua JU, Ekeke C (2017). In vitro polyploidization of Zehneria capillacea (Shumach.) C. Jeffrey using nodal explants. Journal of Advances in Biology & Biotechnology 13(2):1-13.

Agogbua UJ, Ekeke C, Okoli BE (2015). Effect of oryzalin treatments on polyploidy induction, phenotypic and quantitative traits of Zehneria capillacea (Shumach.) C. Jeffrey. International Journal of Tropical Agriculture 33(3):2067-2073.

Aguoru CU, Okoli BE (2012). Comparative stem and petiole anatomy of West African species of Momordica L (Cucurbitaceae). African Journal of Plant Science 6(15):403-409.

Ahmed F (2011). Encyclopedia of tropical plants. Published by Firefly Books Ltd. New York, USA pp 449.

Ajuru MG, Okoli BE (2013). The morphological characterization of the melon species in the family Cucurbitaceae Juss., and their utilization in Nigeria. International Journal of Modern Botany 3(2):15-19.

Akinmoladun AC, Ibukun EO, Afor E, Akinrinlola BL, Onibon TR, ... Farombi EO (2007). Chemical constituents and antioxidant activity of Alstonia boonei. African Journal of Biotechnology 6(10):1197-1201.

Alejandro C (1998). Evaluation of two Benincasa hispida genotypes for fruit yield, vine growth, size and shape characteristics. Report - Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative 21:67-68.

Ammon HV, Thomas PJ, Phillips S (1974). Effect of oleic and recinoleic acid on net jejunal water and electrolyte movement. Journal of Clinical Investigation 53(2):374-379.

AOAC (2000). Official Methods of Analysis, Association of Analytical Chemists, 7th ed. Association of Analytical Communities, Gaithersburg, MD.

AOAC (2006). Official Methods of Analysis, Association of Analytical Chemists, Washington DC (USA) 15th ed. Association of Analytical Communities, Gaithersburg, MD.

Bhalodia Y, Kanzariya N, Patel R, Patel N, Vaghasiya J, Jivani N (2009). Renoprotective activity of Benincasa cerifera fruit extract on ischemia/Reperfusion-Induced renal damage in rat. Iranian Journal of Kidney Diseases 3(2):80-85.

Cantuti CI, Shukitt-Hale B, Joseph JA (2000). Neurobehavioral aspects of antioxidants in aging. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience 18(4-5):367-381.

Cheran N, Alok N, Vinod KD (2010). Effect of Benincasa hispida fruits on testosterone-induced prostatic hypertrophy in albino rats. Current Therapeutic Research 71(5):331-343.

Chike CPR, Dapper DV, Odee P (2006). Possible abortifacient effect of Zehneria cordifolia methanol extract on female Wistar rat. African Journal of Applied Zoology and Environmental Biology 8:140-145.

Cutler DF (1984). Systematic anatomy and embryology-recent developments. Current Concepts in Plant Taxonomy. Academic Press, London pp 108-125.

Cuzzocrea S, Riley DP, Caputi AP, Salvemini D (2001). Antioxidant therapy: A new pharmacological approach in shock, inflammation and ischemia/reperfusion injury. Pharmacological Reviews 53(1):135-159.

Du Q, Zhang Q, Ito Y (2005). Isolation and identification of phenolic compounds in the fruit of Benincasa hispidaby HSCCC. Journal of Liquid Chromatography & Related Technologies 28(1):137-144.

Ekeke C, Agogbua J, Okoli BE (2015). Comparative anatomy of tendril and fruit stalk in Curcubitaceae Juss. from Nigeria. International Journal of Biological and Chemical Sciences 9(4):1875-1887.

Ekeke C, Agbagwa IO (2017). Survey of foliar trichomes in Combretum Loelf. (Combretaceae) in parts of West Africa. Journal of Plant Studies 6(2):9-17.

Ekeke C, Agogbua J, Okoli BE (2015). Comparative anatomy of tendril and fruit stalk in Curcubitaceae Juss. from Nigeria. International Journal of Biological and Chemical Sciences 9(4):1875-1887.

FAO (1972). Food composition table for use in East Asia. Food and Agriculture Organization and U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare: Rome. Retrieved 3 November 2017, from X6878E00.htm.

FAO (2009). Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Retrieved 2 November 2017, from. http: //faostat.fao. org/ site/339/default.aspx.

Gaginella TS, Stewart JJ, Olson WA, Bass P (1975). Actions of ricinoleic acid and structurally related fatty acid on the gastro-intestinal tract II. Effects on water and electrolyte absorption in vitro. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 195(2):355-361.

Gill NS, Dhiman K, Bajwa J, Sharma P, Sood S (2010). Evaluation of free radical scavenging, anti-inflammatory and analgesic potential of Benincasa hispidaseed extract. International Journal of Pharmacology 6(5):652-657.

Sanchez-Alonso F, Lachica M (1987). Seasonal trends in the elemental content of plum leaves. Communication in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 18(1):31-44.

Girdhar S, Wanjari MM, Prajapati SK, Girdhar A (2010). Evaluation of anti-compulsive effect of methanolic extract of Benincasa hispidaCogn. fruit in mice. Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica-Drug Research 67(4):417-421.

Grover JK, Adiga G, Vats V, Rathi SS (2001). Extracts of Benincasa hispidaprevent development of experimental ulcers. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 78(2-3):159-164.

Han JS, Oh DG, Mok IG, Park HG, Kim CK (2004). Efficient plant regeneration from cotyledon explants of bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria Standl). Plant Cell Reports 23(5):291-296.

Harborne JB (1984). Phytochemical compounds. In Phytochemical methods. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 37-99.

Huang HY, Huang JJ, Tso TK, Tsai YC, Chang CK (2004). Antioxidant and angiotension-converting enzyme inhibition capacities of various parts of Benincasa hispida (wax gourd). Nahrung 48(3):230-233.

Hutchinson J, Dalziel JM (1954). Flora of West Tropical Africa. Crown Agents, London UK.

Jeffrey CA (1980). A review of the Cucurbitaceae. Botanical Journal of the Linnaean Society 81:233-247.

Jeffrey CA (1990). An outline classification of the Cucurbitaceae. In: Bates DM, Robinson RW, Jeffrey C (eds.). Biology and utilization of the Cucurbitaceae. Cornell University Press Ithaca, NY, pp 449-463.

Jeffrey CA (2005). A new system of Cucurbitaceae. Botanicheskii Zhurnal


Kolb D, Muller M (2004). Light, conventional and environmental scanning electron microscopy of the trichomes of Cucurbita pepo subsp. pepo var. styriaca and histochemistry of glandular secretory products. Annals of Botany 94(4):515-526.

Kumar A, Vimalavathini R (2004). Possible anorectic effect of methanol extract of Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cong, fruit. Indian Journal of Pharmacology 36(6):348-350.

Lee KH, Choi HR, Kim CH (2005). Anti-angiogenic effect of the seed extract of Benincasa hispidaCogniaux. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 97(3):509-513.

Maciuk A, Bouchet MJ, Mazars G, Um BH, Anton R (2002). Nootropic (medhya) plants from ayurvedic pharmacopoeia. 4th European Congress on Ethnopharmocology proceeding “From the Sources of Knowledge to the Medicines of the Future”11-13 May 2000, pp 402-411.

Malvey P (2004). Structure, nomenclature and classification of stomata. Acta Botanica Sinica 44(2):242-252.

Martin FW (1984). Cucurbit seed as possible oil and protein sources. Echo Technical Note. Retrieved 31 October 2016, from =News & file = article & sid=592.

Mathad VSB, Chandanam S, Setty SRT, Ramaiyan D, Veeranna B, Lakshminarayanasettry ABV (2005). Antidiarrheal evaluation of Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn. fruit extract. Iranian Journal of Pharmacology and Therapeutics 4(1):24-27.

Metcalfe CR, Chalk L (1950). Anatomy of the Dicotyledons. At The Clarendon Press: Oxford, London, pp 684-691.

Metcalfe CR, Chalk L (1979). Anatomy of the Dicotyledons. 2nd Edn., At The Clarendon Press, Oxford,London, pp 276.

Mini-Raj N, Prasanna KP, Peter KV (1993). Ash gourd Benincase hispida (Thunb.) Cogn. In: Genetic Improvement of Vegetable Crops. Eds. Kallo G, Bergh BO, pp 235-238.

Mohammad AA, Fahad MAA (2011). Taxonomic significance of trichomes micromorphology in cucurbits, Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences 18(1):87-92.

Monson K (2010). Benefits of GABA. Retrieved 12 August 2017, from

Morton JF (1971). The wax gourd, a year-round Florida vegetable with unusual keeping quality. Proceeding of the Florida State Horticultural Society 84:104-109.

Nadhiya K, Vijayalakshmi K, Gaddam ARG (2016). Antiobesity effect of Benincasa hispidaFruit extract in high fat diet fed Wistar albino rats. International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research 8(12):1590-1599.

Ndukwu BC (1988). Morphological, anatomical and cytological studies on some lesser known Nigerian Cucurbits. M.Sc. Thesis, University of Port Harcourt. Nigeria.

Ndukwu BC, Okoli BE (1992). Studies on Nigerian Curcurbita moschata. Nigerian Journal of Botany 5:18-26.

Nurul AMZ, Farooq A, Azizah AH, Nazamid S (2011). Kundur [Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn.]: A potential source for valuable nutrients and functional foods. Food Research International 44(7):2368-2376.

Okoli BE (1984). Wild and cultivated cucurbits in Nigeria. Economic Botany 38(3):350-357.

Okoli BE (1987). Anatomical studies in the leaf and probract of Telferia Hooker (Curcurbitaceae). Feddes Repertorium 98:231-236.

Okoli BE (1989). SEM study of surface characteristics of the vegetative and reproductive organs of Telferia (Cucurbitaceae). Phytomorphology 39:103-108.

Okoli BE (2013). Fluted pumpkin, Telfairia- the under-exploited golden treasure. University of Port Harcourt Press, Nigeria.

Omara-Achong TE, Edwin-Wosu NL, Edu EA, Nkang AE (2012). Survey of indigenous vegetables species in parts of Ogoja and Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria. European Journal of Experimental Biology 2(4):1289-1301.

Qadrie ZL, Hawisa NT, Khan MWA, Samuel M, Anandan R (2009). Antinociceptive and anti-pyretic activity of Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn. in Wistar albino rats. Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 22(3):287-290.

Rachchh MA, Jain SM (2009). Gastroprotective effect of Benincasa hispidafruit extract. Indian Journal of Pharmacology 40(6):271-275.

Rao TA (1991). Compendium of foliar sclereids in angiosperms. New Delhi: Wiley Eastern.

Robinson RW, Decker-Walters DS (1997). Cucurbits. New York: CAB International. Simonds NW 1976. Evaluation of Crop Plants, 1st edn. New York: Longman.

Roy C, Ghosh TK, Guha D (2008). Dose dependent activity of Benincasa hispidaon colchicines induced experimental rat model of Alzheimer's disease. International Journal of Pharmacology 4(4):237-244.

Rubatzky VE, Yamaguchi M (1997). Chinese winter melon / wax gourd Benincase hispida (Thunb.) Cogn. In: World Vegetables: principles, production, and nutritive values. Chapman Hall, ITP pp 625-627.

Schaefer H, Renner SS (2011). Phylogenetic relationships in the order Cucurbitales and a new classification of the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae). Taxon 60(1):122-138.

Sew CC, Zaini NAM, Anwar F, Hamid AA, Saari N (2010). Nutritional composition and oil fatty acids of Kundur [Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn.] seed. Pakistan Journal of Botany 42(5):3247-3255.

Shakti PP, Iftekhar A, Anisuzzaman M, Kanak KS, Shamina AS, Mohammad FA (2007). Indirect organogenesis in summer squash (Cucurbita pepo L.). Turkish Journal of Agriculture and Forestry 31(1):63-70.

Sheikh SA, Nowreen J, Md. Ahashan H, Mohammad NI (2012). Cytogenetical and molecular characterization of five commercial varieties in Trichosanthes anguina L. Cytologia 77(2):155-162.

Shetty BV, Arjuman A, Jorapur A, Samanth R, Yadav SK, ... Valliammai N (2008). Effect of extract of Benincasa hispidaon oxidative stress in rats with Indomethacin induced gastric ulcers. Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology 52(2):178-182.

Shih CT, Wu J, Jia S, Khan AA, Ting KH, Shih DS (2001). Purification of an osmotin-like protein from the seeds of Benincasa hispida and cloning of the gene encoding this protein. Plant Science 160(5):817-826.

Stephens JM (1988). Manual of minor vegetables. Florida Cooperative Extension Service. Bulletin SP-40, pp 54.

Sudhakar P, Sanjeev K, Upama M, Ashutosh R, Major S, Mathura R (2008). Genetic diversity in Indian ash gourd (Benincasa hispida) accessions as revealed by quantitative traits and RAPD markers. Scientia Horticulturae 118(1):80-86.

Tee ES, Noor MI, Azudin MN, Idris K (1997). Nutrient composition of Malaysian foods (Komposisi zat dalam makanan Malaysia). Malaysian Food Composition Database Programme (pp 46-47). (4th ed.). Kuala Lumpur: Institute for Medical Research.

Uchikoba T, Yonezawa H, Kaneda M (1998). Cucumisin like protease from the sarcocarp of Benincasa hispidavar. Ryukyu. Phytochemistry 49(8):2215-2219.

Whitaker TW, Davis GN (1962). Cucurbits - botany, cultivation, utilization. Interscience Publishers, Inc., New York pp 249.

Wills RBH, Wang A, Scriven FM, Green-Field H (1984). Nutrient composition of Chinese vegetables. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 32(2):413-416.

Yaniv Z, Shabelsky E, Schafferman D (1999). Colocynth: potential arid land oilseed from an ancient cucurbit. In: Prespective on new crops and new uses. ASHS Press, Alexandria, Virginia, pp 257-261.

Yoshizumi S, Murakami T, Kadoya M, Matsuda H, Yamahara J, Yoshikawa M (1998). Medicinal foodstuffs. XI. Histamine release inhibitors from wax gourd, the fruits of Benincasa hispida Cogn. Yakugaku Zasshi: Journalof the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan 118(5):188-192.

Zhang SY (1996). Cosmetic and medicinal effects of the fruit of Benincasa hispida. Zhongguo Mingjian Liofa 4:44-49.




How to Cite

EKEKE, C., OGAZIE, C. A., & AGBAGWA, I. O. (2019). Anatomical and Phytochemical Studies on Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn. (Cucurbitaceae). Notulae Scientia Biologicae, 11(1), 102–111.



Research articles
DOI: 10.15835/nsb11110394

Most read articles by the same author(s)