The sicana odorifera or cassabanana is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family. Brazil native, and cultivated in parts of Central and South America. Sicana is a perennial vine, herbaceous and fast growing. This plant is heavy, requiring a strong trellis. It can climb trees up to 50 ft (15 m) high or more by means of 4-parted tendrils equipped with adhesive discs that can adhere tightly to the smoothest surface.
Renowned for its strong, sweet, agreeable, melon-like odor, the striking fruit is ellipsoid or nearly cylindrical, sometimes slightly curved. It is 12 to 24 in (30-60 cm) in length, and 2 3/4 to 4 1/2in (7-11.25 cm) wide, thick, and hard-shelled. The fruits can be orange-red, maroon, dark-purple with tinges of violet, or jet-black. The skin is smooth and glossy when ripe, with firm, orange-yellow or yellow, cantaloupe-like, juicy flesh, 3/4 in (2 cm) thick.
In the central cavity, there is softer pulp, a soft, fleshy core, and numerous flat, oval seeds, 5/8 in (16 mm) long and 1/4 in (6 mm) wide, light-brown bordered with a dark-brown stripe, in tightly-packed rows extending the entire length of the fruit. Can be eaten raw, or use for jam and preserves. The immature fruit is often cooked and served in soups and stews. Ripened fruits are also be used as a centerpiece, to perfume an entire room with a wonderful, fresh, melon fragrance. The cassabanana remains in good condition for several months if kept dry and out of the sun.
The young stems are hairy. The leaves are gray-hairy, rounded-cordate(heart-shaped) or rounded kidney-shaped, up to 1 ft (30 cm) wide, deeply indented at the base, 3-lobed, with wavy or toothed margins, on petioles 1 1/2 to 4 3/4 in (4-12 cm) long, with leaves as much as a foot across.Sicana tree produces bright yellow, fragrant blooms. The flowers are white or yellow, urn-shaped, 5-lobed, solitary, the male 3/4 in (2 cm) long, the female about 2 in (5 cm) long.
Hardiness zones: 4-11(-32°C/-25°F, 4°C/40°F) in winter. It will grow well in heat and humidity. Use a mixture made up with 50% of horticultural compost, and 50% sand or pearlite. Place in the sun.