Trichosanthes cucumerina is a tropical or subtropical vine, in Asia the fruit eaten immature as a vegetable much like the summer squash, and in Africa, the reddish pulp of its mature fruit is used as an economical substitute of tomato. Common names of the cultivated variety include snake gourd, serpent gourd, chichinda, and padwal (not to be confused with Trichosanthes dioica, the parwal, another gourd edible when immature).
Trichosanthes cucumerina is found in the wild across much of South and Southeast Asia, including India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), and southern China (Guangxi and Yunnan). It is also regarded as native in northern Australia. and naturalized in Florida, parts of Africa and on various islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.