Cucumis anguria

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Cucumis anguria
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Cucurbitales
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Cucumis
C. anguria
Binomial name
Cucumis anguria

Cucumis anguria, commonly known as maroon cucumber,[3] West Indian gherkin,[4] maxixe,[5] burr gherkin,[6] cackrey,[7] and West Indian gourd,[3] is a vine that is indigenous to Africa, but has become naturalized in the New World, and is cultivated in many places.[2] It is similar and related to the common cucumber (C. sativus) and its cultivars are known as gherkins.[citation needed]


Cucumis anguria is a thinly stemmed, herbaceous vine scrambling up to 3 meters long. Fruits (4–5 cm × 3–4 cm) grow on long stalks, and are ovoid to oblong. The fruits are covered with long hairs over a surface of spines or wart-like bumps. The inner flesh is pallid to green.[3]


Although naturalized in many parts of the New World, Cucumis anguria is indigenous only to Africa, in the following countries: Angola; Botswana; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga); Eswatini; Tanzania; Zambia; and Zimbabwe.[2]

Cucumis anguria has become naturalized in: Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Australia (Queensland and Western Australia[8]); Barbados; Brazil; Cayman Islands; Costa Rica; Cuba; the Dominican Republic; Ecuador; French Guiana; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Guatemala; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Madagascar; Martinique; Mexico; Netherlands Antilles; Nicaragua; Panama; Peru; Puerto Rico; Saint Lucia; Saint Vincent and Grenadines; Suriname; the United States (California, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, Oregon, Texas, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Washington); Canada (Ontario, Niagara Region); Venezuela; and both British and American Virgin Islands.[2][4]

Cucumis anguria is also cultivated, but not indigenous to, nor yet believed to have become naturalized in these places: Cape Verde; Réunion; Senegal; and parts of the Caribbean not already mentioned above.[2]


Cucumis anguria is primarily grown (as a crop plant) for its edible fruit, which are used in pickling, as cooked vegetables,[3][9] or eaten raw.[3] The flavor is similar to that of the common cucumber.[10] C. anguria fruits are popular in the northeast and north of Brazil, where they are an ingredient in the local version of cozido (meat-and-vegetable stew).[citation needed]

Cucumis anguria has been used in folk medicine to treat ailments of the stomach.[11]


Crops are susceptible to attacks by fungi, aphids, and cucumber beetles.[3]


This species, Cucumis anguria L., has a name that other species may share:



  1. ^ Cucumis anguria was originally described and published in Species Plantarum 2: 1011. 1753. "Name - !Cucumis anguria L." Tropicos. Saint Louis, Missouri: Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Cucumis anguria". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Cucumis anguria". EcoCrop. FAO. 1993–2007. Archived from the original on July 2, 2015. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Profile for Cucumis anguria (West Indian gherkin)". PLANTS Database. USDA, NRCS. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  5. ^ "Maxixe | WorldCrops". Retrieved 2020-04-26.
  6. ^ Weaver, William Woys. "Growing Burr Gherkins - Organic Gardening". Mother Earth News. Retrieved 2020-04-26.
  7. ^ "Cackery". Archived from the original on 2015-07-02.
  8. ^ "Cucumis anguria". FloraBase. Western Australian Government Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.
  9. ^ Purseglove, J.W. (1968). Tropical Crops Dicotyledons. London: Longmans, Green and Co. Ltd.
  10. ^ "How to Grow Gherkins". Gardening Jones. 3 September 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  11. ^ James A. Duke. "Cucumis anguria (CUCURBITACEAE)". Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. Archived from the original on April 13, 2019. Retrieved December 25, 2017.