Cucumis metuliferus

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Horned melon
2015-02-01 Cucumis metuliferus Kiwano anagoria.JPG
Cucumis metuliferus fruit
2015-02-01 Kiwano Cucumis metuliferus anagoria.JPG
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)
7.56 g
1.26 g
1.78 g
Vitamin A equiv.
7 μg
88 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.025 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.015 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.565 mg
0.183 mg
Vitamin B6
0.063 mg
Folate (B9)
3 μg
Vitamin C
5.3 mg
Trace metals
13 mg
1.13 mg
40 mg
0.039 mg
37 mg
123 mg
2 mg
0.48 mg
Other constituents
Water 88.97 g

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) and Tsamma (Citrillus lanatus) it is one of the few sources of water during the dry season in the Kalahari Desert.[2][3] In Zimbabwe it is called gaka or gakachika, and is primarily used as a snack or salad, and rarely for decoration. It can be eaten at any stage of ripening, but when overripened, will burst forcefully to release seeds.[4]

The fruit's taste has been compared to a combination of cucumber and zucchini[5] or a combination of banana, cucumber and lemon.[6] 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".[7]



  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. ^ Ben-Erik Van Wyk (2000). People's Plants: A guide to useful plants of southern Africa. South Africa: Briza Publications. p. 38. ISBN 978-1-875093-19-9. Retrieved 2015-01-10. 
  4. ^ "dehisce". 
  5. ^ "Living - Kiwano: It's what's inside that counts - Seattle Times Newspaper". 
  6. ^ "The Dinner Diva: Let's discover some more little-known fruits". 21 February 2008. 
  7. ^ Elizabeth Schneider. Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini. William Morrow. p. 345. ISBN 0-688-15260-0. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Cucumis metuliferus at Wikimedia Commons