Sicana odorifera seeds, Cassabanana
Sicana odorifera belongs to the family of the Curcurbitaceae, the curcurbit family. The plant
is native to South America.
S. odorifera is a perennial plant that reaches on an average 12 m height. Rarely does it get
more than 15 m high. The plant needs something to entwine around.
The leaves of S. odorifera have a long petiole. They are lobate constisting of five or seven
lobes. The leaves get 15 cm long and 30 cm wide. The whole leaf is pubescent and has a
dentate leaf edge. The flowers stand in the leaf axilla. S. odorifera has female and male
flowers that both occur at the same plant (monoecious). The female flowers are a little bigger
that the male ones, they get 5 cm long whereas the male flowers get 2 cm long. The flowers
are yellowish or whitish in color. The five petals are grown together. The flowers have a very
pleasant smell. It smells like melon and attracts butterflies, bees and birds for pollination.
S. odorifera has very big fruits. They look like a cucumber and get up to 60 cm long. The pulp
of the fruit is always yellow or orange. The color of the skin of the fruit varies. It can be
orange, red, brown, purple, violet or black. The fruits can be eaten raw. They taste a bit like
melon. The fruits can be preserved, too. In that way they can be stored and they still taste very
fine after that procedure. One can also cut the fruit in to pieces and dry them. Afterwards they
can be put into the wardrobe to keep away moths.
In the pulp there are the seeds. They are poisonous, one should not eat them. Only the fruits
The seeds of S. odorifera should be put in warm water for a short time before planting. 2 to 4
h are enough. After that they can be put 1 cm deep into a nutrient rich substrate. When the
substrate is kept moist at a temperature of about 23°C germination occurs after 2 to 4 weeks.
S. odorifera should be placed sunny. The plant needs much water and warm temperature to
fructify. S. odorifera is not winter hardy.