(squash, pumpkins, gourds, melons, cucumbers, etc.)
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Other Cucurbits

Benincasa hispida

Chinese Wintermelon

120 days-9 to 12 pounds-pale blotchy green underneath a layer of ashy white and slightly spiny, fuzzy hairs, both of which rub off in handling and rain. Also known as Ash Gourd, Wax Gourd, Chinese Preserving Melon, and Mao Gwa. Used in Chinese and Indian cuisine. Introduced to the United States in 1884 (if not before, by immigrants from East Asia). Is slow to emerge when planted, sometimes taking up to three weeks to germinate. There are many varieties of this species, many of them elongated and oval-shaped; this strain is more or less apple-shaped. Flesh is white and very juicy. $15.00/oz. ; $3.50/20 seeds

Cucumis metuliferus

Horned Cucumber

140 days-approximately 1 pound each-pond-green with greenish-white rings (around the spikes) and tiny greenish-white spots when immature, changing to bright yellow with orange markings at maturity. A native of South Africa, which is home to many highly unusual cucurbits (and many highly unusual plants, period). Huge numbers of these small, oblong, squishy fruits with their battery of large spikes are produced in the center of a nest of small vines. (Maybe, given a longer season, they start to produce further out along the vines too.) When cut open they reveal a quivering mass of symmetrically-arranged lime green jelly, with each of the many small, hairy seeds encased in its own jelly sac-an awe-inspiring sight in cross-section. Said to taste like a combination of bananas and limes. Sometimes seen in displays of exotic fruit at large supermarkets, and in the wonderful remake of Planet of the Apes, where it is supposed to pass as space food. Also known as Kiwano, Jelly Melon, and Karoo Cucumber. $3.00/10 seeds

Cucumis melo flexuosus

Armenian Cucumber

65 days-beautiful light-green, ridged fruits up to two feet long, scalloped in cross-section and great with hummus. Technically not a cucumber at all, but rather a very elongated melon, it nevertheless has a crisp cucumber taste without bitterness or sloppy wetness. Will twist into curvy shapes if not grown on a trellis. $2.50/20 seeds

Echinocystis lobata

Wild Cucumber

A native woodland plant with greenish-white six-pointed flowers. Likes it on the wet side, unlike most cucurbits, growing along streams and in moist places in the woods. Requires cold treatment to germinate (see Echinacea angustifolia, below). $3.00/10 seeds

Sicyos angulatus

Bur Cucumber

Another native woodland cucurbit. Pale green five-pointed flowers followed by tiny spiny fruits in clusters. Also likes it on the wet side, though not as wet as Echinocystis. Requires cold treatment (see Echinacea angustifolia, below). $3.00/20 seeds


cucurbitaceae | amaryllidaceae | other plant families | herbs and ornamentals
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