African Horned Cucumber from Hell!

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by Mark, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    This wild cucumber deceived me as it grew in one of my raised beds next to an "apple cucumber" variety I planted. The wild cucumber vine seed must have been dropped there by a bird or bat. It grew like crazy - see pic below.

    african horned cucumber 2.jpg

    I really had no idea about this variety of cucumber so I Googled for a few minutes and found out what it was that hijacked my raised veggie bed - the African Horned cucumber or kiwano. My quick readings took me to a few forums with a couple of people advocating the plant as an exotic vine worth growing and although its fruit is spiny it can still be eaten much like a normal cucumber.

    Therefore,I decided to give this vine a chance a see what the fruit was like and possibly even keep the seed and re-grow this free cucumber from the sky.

    Well, I now wish I didn't as it grew amazingly fast and the fruit turned out to be small to medium, spiny, ugly, awful, oval shaped, things. When cut open the fruit has a squillian seeds so unless you like eating cucumber seed it's useless!

    african horned cucumber fruit melon all seed.jpg

    I have read on other websites of people deliberately growing this wretched thing - why would you do that!? It's even sold on some online seed retailers.

    The vine itself is spinier than a normal cucumber plant so it's difficult to handle and the fruit is so pathetically awful and minimal it's certainly no good for cucumber sandwiches.

    The one amazing thing about this plant is its ability to grow so well in humid and rainy conditions - if only someone could cross breed this "thing" with another cucumber (like Lebanese) to make a resilient grower with great fruit they'd make a fortune selling it!

    Trying to grow thriving cucumbers here through summer is ridiculously difficult and that's why I was so pleased my apple cucumber grew so well (initially) until I realised it was taken over by this wretched abomination of the cucumber species. What a cruel joke nature played on me... :(

    So all I can say is, "if" you find a strange cucumber popping up in your garden and it's growing like the "clappers" don't be fooled into thinking it's going to be a cucumber bonanza gifted to you from your compost heap, because, it will just bring you pain and likely turn out to be the African Horned Cucumber from hell!
     
  2. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    There you go, sell the seeds online :cheers:
     
  3. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I couldn't sell them or even give them away! But, you've just given me an idea for a prize in our next competition :sneaky:
     
  4. Tim C

    Tim C Two heads are better than one Premium Member GOLD

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    Maybe you need to harvest them earlier?
     
  5. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Nah, even when they're small they're awful...
     
  6. Tim C

    Tim C Two heads are better than one Premium Member GOLD

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    OK thanks Mark. I will take your word on that. There are plenty of groovy and yummy curcubits I may try.
     
  7. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    A couple of similar ones that aren't aggressive and are better to eat are the West Indian cucumber happy to send you some seed let me know via personal conversation if you want any (seed offer here) ... (pickled example here) and also I believe the Mouse Melon is really good to grow and eat although I am yet to try this one myself but I'm keen to.
     
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