Vigorous, herbaceous, perennial climber, widely cultivated for its edible fruit. Stems up to 15 m long, striate, with axillary simple tendrils up to 10 cm long. Leaves alternate, up to 13 × 15 cm, more or less deeply 3-lobed, slightly leathery, glossy green or yellow-green above, paler and duller green below, with 2 glands at the apex of the petiole; margin finely toothed; linear stipules present, c. 1 cm long. Flowers solitary, up to 7 cm in diameter. Petals white. Corona with filaments up to 2.5 cm long in 4-5 rows, white, purple at base. Fruit ovoid to spherical, 4-5 cm in diameter, yellow, greenish-yellow or purplish.