Wild Cucumber
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Wild Cucumber
A Native Photo: S. Kasim
Common name: Wild Cucumber • Hindi: Elaroo • Malayalam: Andanga, Peerappattikka, Peerapotti
Botanical name: Cucumis sativus var. hardwickii    Family: Cucurbitaceae (Pumpkin family)
Synonyms: Cucumis hardwickii, Melo sativus

Wild Cucumber is a slender climber with stems rough, tendril simple. Leaves are up to 12 cm across, entire or shallowly 5-lobed, rough, leaf-stalks up to 15 cm long. Male flowers are borne in fascicles of 3-5; flower-stalk up to 1 cm long; calyx tube bell-shaped, bristly. Petals are 7 mm long, obovate, yellow; stamens 3, anthers flexuous, coherent, connective crested with laciniate lobes. Female flowers arise singly, calyx flower similar to male flowers; ovary oblong, many-ovuled. Fruit is 3.5 x 2.5 cm, oblong or nearly spherical, softly, sparsely spiny, greenish-yellow with white stripes; seeds many, compressed. Wild Cucumber is found in forests, thickets, mountain slopes, at altitudes of 700-2000 m, in China, NE India, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand. It is also found in South India, particularly in Kerala. Flowering: September-March.

Identification credit: S. Kasim Photographed in Wagaman, Kerala.

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