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hedgehog gourd, teasel gourd

African horned cucumber, blowfish fruit, horned melon, jelly melon, kiwano

Habit Plants: roots thin, without thick, woody rootstock. Plants: rootstock woody.

petiole weakly hispidulous to hispid;

blade ovate to broadly ovate, unlobed to 3-lobate, 3–7.5(–12.5) × 2–7(–12) cm, length 1.1–1.5 times width, base cordate, lobes ovate to elliptic, margins serrate or entire.

petiole setose;

blade ovate, 3-lobate or weakly palmately 3–5-lobed, (4–)6–12(–14) × (3.5–)5.5–10(–12) cm, length 1.2–1.4 times width, base cordate, lobes elliptic to ovate, margins serrate.


pedicels of pistillate flowers and fruits cylindric; staminate flowers 1 or 2–7, usually in racemoid fascicles, rarely racemes; pistillate flowers: calyx lobes 5–6(–11) mm, petals 6–15 mm, corolla tube 1–1.5 mm, lobes glabrous inside.

pedicels of pistillate flowers and fruits cylindric; staminate flowers usually 2–5 in fascicles, rarely solitary; pistillate flowers: calyx lobes 2–3 mm, petals 6–10(–17) mm, corolla tube 1–1.6 mm, lobes sparsely puberulent inside.


proximally hispidulous, distally glabrous.

glabrate to hispid.


pale yellow, monocolor, ellipsoid to ellipsoid-cylindric or globose, 3.5–7 × 2.5–4 cm, densely echinate at maturity, spinules narrowly cylindric, mostly obscuring fruit surface, flesh light yellow.

yellow to yellow-orange, monocolor, cylindric-ellipsoid, 0.6–1.5 × 3–6 cm, surface muricate to aculeate at maturity, spinules thick-based, glabrous, flesh lime green, jellylike.


= 24.

= 24.

Cucumis dipsaceus

Cucumis metuliferus

Phenology Flowering Jul–Sep. Flowering Jul–Sep.
Habitat Open shrublands, thicket edges, riparian corridors, stream banks, sandy and loamy soil Fences, disturbed sites
Elevation 50–100 m (200–300 ft) 5–200 m (0–700 ft)
from FNA
TX; Africa [Introduced in North America; introduced also in Mexico, Pacific Islands (Galapagos Islands, Hawaii), Australia]
[BONAP county map]
from FNA
AL; FL; Africa [Introduced in North America; introduced also in Australia]
[BONAP county map]

Cucumis dipsaceus is documented as adventive in Texas by collections from Hidalgo and Webb counties. It is sometimes cultivated as an ornamental because of its distinctive fruits.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Cucumis metuliferus has been reported as naturalized in Houston County, Alabama, and Pinellas County, Florida.

Cucumis metuliferus is used for food, for garnish, and for decoration, apparently more for the latter. The flavor has been described as bland citrus, bananalike, banana-lime, a banana-cucumber-lemon combination, and a cucumber-zucchini combination. Its success as a cultivar apparently began only in 1982 in New Zealand from particularly colorful selections. It was exported from there to Japan with the trade name Kiwano and now is grown commercially also in California, Chile, and Australia.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Source FNA vol. 6, p. 38. FNA vol. 6, p. 38.
Parent taxa Cucurbitaceae > Cucumis Cucurbitaceae > Cucumis
Sibling taxa
C. anguria, C. melo, C. metuliferus, C. myriocarpus, C. sativus
C. anguria, C. dipsaceus, C. melo, C. myriocarpus, C. sativus
Name authority Ehrenberg: in E. Spach, Hist. Nat. Vég. 6: 211. (1838) E. Meyer ex Naudin: Ann. Sci. Nat., Bot., sér. 4, 11: 10. (1859)
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