Hodgsonia heteroclita (Roxb.) Hook.f. & Thomson, Proc. Linn. Soc. London 2: 257 (1853)
Species name meaning 'differing from?'.
Hodgsonia heteroclita subsp. indochinensis W.J. de Wilde & Duyfjes
Trichosanthes grandiflora Wall.
Trichosanthes heteroclita Roxb.
Trichosanthes hexasperma Blume
Trichosanthes kadam Miq.
Trichosanthes theba Buch.-Ham. ex Wall.
Lianas to 20-30 m long. Stem and branches glabrous. Petiole robust, 4-8 cm, striate, glabrous;
leaf blade 15-24 x 15-24 cm, leathery, both surfaces glabrous, 3-5-lobed, mostly 5-lobed; lobes
ovate-oblong, base truncate, apex acuminate. Male peduncle thick, 15-30 cm, striate, glabrous or
puberulent; bracts oblong-lanceolate, 5-10 mm, fleshy; pedicels short, thick, glabrous or puberulent;
calyx tube yellowish, narrowly tubular, 7-10(-12) cm x 7-9 mm, dilated only at very apex; segments
triangular-lanceolate, 2-4 mm; corolla yellow outside, white inside; segments ca. 5 cm, fimbriate
fringes up to 15 cm. Female pedicels robust, short; ovary subglobose, 2-2.2 cm in diam. Fruit reddish
brown, compressed globose, 10-16 x ca. 20 cm, smooth or shallowly grooved. Seeds oblong, ca. 7 x 3 cm,
mostly compound. [from Flora of China]
Thickets on mountain slopes, up to 1500 m elevation. The flowers bloom for just one night, then fall off.
Although the flesh of Hodgsonia fruit is inedible and considered worthless, the large,
oil-rich seeds are an important source of food. The kernels are occasionally eaten raw; they are
slightly bitter, possibly due to an unidentified alkaloid or glucoside, but "safe" to eat. More
commonly, the seeds are roasted, after which they taste like pork scraps or lard; many mountain
peoples consider these roasted seeds a delicacy. In addition to eating the seeds alone, the Naga
incorporate them into various types of curry. The medicinal importance of Hodgsonia is mostly in
its leaves. In Malaya and java, native physicians report several uses for the nose for the
related species of Hodgsonia. The leaves may be dried and burnt, and the smoke inhaled,
or the juice of young stems and leaves is squeezed into the nostrils to allay irritation from
small insects. The leaves are also boiled and the resulting liquid taken internally, both for nose
complaints and to reduce fevers. The ashes from burnt leaves of related Hodgsonia macrocarpa
are also used to heal wounds. In Nagaland, the fruit bulb is applied to bacterial infections in the
feet. In Sarawak, Hodgsonia oil is used to anoint the bodies of mothers after childbirth;
it also forms the base of embrocations carrying ashes from the leaves of coconut palm and Kaempferia.
The oil is also used as a base for medicines in Eastern India. Commonly used for food within its
native range, the plant has only been brought into cultivation since the 1970's, and is now an
economically important oil plant in southwest Yunnan.
From Bhutan and India to southern China and into Indochina.
Bangladesh: Makal; Sylhet: Goolur.
China: You zha guo.
English: Kadam seed, Kapayang, Lard fruit; Chinese lardplant.
India: Sikkim (Lepchas): Kat'hior-pot; Nagaland: Assa; Kolasib: Khaum.
Laos: Mak klung.
Vietnam: Béo, Ké bao, Muróp rùng, Dây sén.