| (Jin gua)
A creeping or climbing tropical vine found growing throughout southeastern Asia, from India to Malaysia. Our seeds were collected in Borneo. The vines can reach 5m (15ft) bearing fruits 5cm long and 2cm across. As the fruits ripen they change from green to a brilliant orange or red. The unripe green fruits are edible and are deseeded and candied or made into a condiment. In Laos, however, the ripe fruits are used as a fish poison, and in Malaysia the leaves are used to counteract the poisonous effects of the ripe fruits. In Vietnam the leaves are eaten as a vegetable. Needless to say this is one food plant that needs to be treated with utmost respect! It reminds us of the Japanese culinary obsession with the dangerous pufferfish! The plant is also considered medicinal throughout where it is found: in Thailand, for instance, it is used as a blood tonic and for the treatment of gout, fever, stomach nausea and poor appetite; in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, it is used as a "post-partum remedy".