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ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Cucumber • Hindi: खीरा Khira • Kannada: Soutekayi • Kashmiri: ﻟﹷﻴﺮ Laer • Manipuri: ꯊꯕꯤ Thabi • Marathi: कंकड़ी Kankri • Malayalam: Vellari • Mizo: Fanghma • Oriya: କାକୁଡି Kakudi • Sanskrit: Trapushpa, कंटकीलता Kantakilata • Tamil: Vellarikkay • Telugu: Dosakaya
Botanical name: Cucumis sativus    Family: Cucurbitaceae (Pumpkin family)

Cucumber plants are tendril bearing vines, rooting at the nodes, with triangular prickly hairy leaves and yellow flowers which are either male or female. The female flowers are recognized by the swollen ovary at the base which will become the edible fruit. The fruit is roughly cylindrical, elongated, with tapered ends, and may be as large as 60 cm long and 10 cm in diameter. The flesh of cucumbers is firm and crisp, and really not very sweet, but is delicious. In India, it is a very important ingredient of salad and raita. Street vendors sell ready to eat cucumber, with a sprinkling of masala (spices), to beat the summer heat. Cucumber originated in south Asia, but is now cultivated throughout the world.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Delhi & Kashmir.

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