Cucumis metuliferus

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Horned melon
Cucumis metuliferus fruit
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Cucurbitales
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Cucumis
Species: C. metuliferus
Binomial name
Cucumis metuliferus
E. Mey
Horned Melon, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 183 kJ (44 kcal)
Carbohydrates 7.56 g
Fat 1.26 g
Protein 1.78 g
Water 88.97 g
Vitamin A equiv. 7 μg (1%)
- beta-carotene 88 μg (1%)
Thiamine (vit. B1) 0.025 mg (2%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2) 0.015 mg (1%)
Niacin (vit. B3) 0.565 mg (4%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.183 mg (4%)
Vitamin B6 0.063 mg (5%)
Folate (vit. B9) 3 μg (1%)
Vitamin C 5.3 mg (6%)
Calcium 13 mg (1%)
Iron 1.13 mg (9%)
Magnesium 40 mg (11%)
Manganese 0.039 mg (2%)
Phosphorus 37 mg (5%)
Potassium 123 mg (3%)
Sodium 2 mg (0%)
Zinc 0.48 mg (5%)
Link to USDA Database entry
Percentages are roughly approximated
using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Cucumis metuliferus, horned melon or kiwano, also African horned cucumber or melon, jelly melon, hedged gourd, melano, in the southeastern United States, blowfish fruit, is an annual vine in the cucumber and melon family, Cucurbitaceae. Its fruit has horn-like spines, hence the name "horned melon". Ripe fruit has yellow-orange skin and lime green, jelly-like flesh with a tart taste, and texture similar to a cucumber. C. metuliferus is native to Africa, and is now grown in California, Mississippi, Chile, Australia, and New Zealand.

C. metuliferus is a traditional food plant in Africa, and has potential to improve nutrition and food security, foster rural development and support sustainable land use.[1][not in citation given] Along with the Gemsbok cucumber (Acanthosicyos naudinianus), it is the only source of water during the dry season in the Kalahari Desert.[2] In Zimbabwe it is called gaka or gakachika, and is primarily used as a snack or salad, and rarely for decoration. It is eaten at any stage of ripening.

The fruit's taste has been compared to a combination of cucumber and zucchini[3] or a combination of banana, cucumber and lemon.[4] It is also said to taste like an unripe, watered-down banana. A small amount of salt or sugar can increase the flavor. Some also eat the peel, which is very rich in vitamin C and dietary fiber.[citation needed] The fruit can be used in cooking, but when eaten raw, most suck out the pulp and spit out the seeds.

Despite the fruit's colorful appearance, it has not found any significant uses in Western cuisine, and has been called "astringent", and the prices "exorbitant".[5]



  1. ^ National Research Council (2008-01-25). /openbook.php?record_id=11879&page=89 "Horned Melon". Lost Crops of Africa: Volume III: Fruits. Lost Crops of Africa 3. National Academies Press. ISBN 978-0-309-10596-5. Retrieved 2008-07-17. 
  2. ^ (French) Parc de Khal-agadi, pas si désert, in Science & Vie n° 1130, November 2011, pp. 18-21.
  3. ^ "Kiwano: It's what's inside that counts", The Seattle Times.
  4. ^ "Let's discover some more little-known fruits", Deseret News.
  5. ^ Elizabeth Schneider. Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini. William Morrow. p. 345. ISBN 0-688-15260-0. 

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