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Cucumis metuliferus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Horned melon
Cucumis metuliferus fruits
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Cucurbitales
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Cucumis
C. metuliferus
Binomial name
Cucumis metuliferus
Horned Melon, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy183 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
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.183 mg
Vitamin B6
0.063 mg
Folate (B9)
3 μg
Vitamin C
5.3 mg
13 mg
0.020 mg
1.13 mg
40 mg
0.039 mg
37 mg
123 mg
2 mg
0.48 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Water88.97 g

Percentages estimated using US recommendations for adults,[1] except for potassium, which is estimated based on expert recommendation from the National Academies.[2]

Cucumis metuliferus, commonly called the African horned cucumber, horned melon, spiked melon, jelly melon, or kiwano, is an annual vine in the cucumber and melon family Cucurbitaceae. Its fruit has horn-like spines, hence the name "horned melon". The ripe fruit has orange skin and lime-green, jelly-like flesh. C. metuliferus is native to Southern Africa,[3][4] in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Angola.

Kiwano is a traditional food plant in Africa. Along with the gemsbok cucumber (Acanthosicyos naudinianus) and tsamma (citron melon), it is one of the few sources of water during the dry season in the Kalahari Desert.[5][6] In northern Zimbabwe, it is called gaka or gakachika,[7] and is primarily used as a snack or salad, and rarely for decoration. It can be eaten at any stage of ripening.

The fruit's taste has been compared to a combination of banana and passionfruit,[8] cucumber and zucchini[4] or a combination of banana, cucumber and lime.[9] A small amount of salt or sugar can increase the flavor, but the seed content can make eating the fruit less convenient than many common fruits.

Some also eat the peel, which is very rich in vitamin C and dietary fiber.[10]



Seeding optimum germination temperatures are from 20 to 35 °C (68 to 95 °F). Germination is delayed at 12 °C (54 °F) and inhibited at temperatures lower than 12 °C or above 35 °C. Thus, it is recommended to sow in trays and transplant into the field at the true two-leaf stage. The best time for transplanting into an open field is in the spring when soil and air temperatures rise to around 15 °C (59 °F). cited from national geographic

Pests and diseases


Kiwano is resistant to several root-knot nematodes; two accessions were found to be highly resistant to watermelon mosaic virus, but very sensitive to the squash mosaic virus. Some accessions were found to succumb to Fusarium wilt. Resistance to greenhouse whitefly was reported. Kiwano was reported to be resistant to powdery mildew, but in Israel, powdery mildew and squash mosaic virus attacked kiwano fields and control measures had to be taken.[11]



  1. ^ United States Food and Drug Administration (2024). "Daily Value on the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels". FDA. Archived from the original on 2024-03-27. Retrieved 2024-03-28.
  2. ^ National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Food and Nutrition Board; Committee to Review the Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium (2019). Oria, Maria; Harrison, Meghan; Stallings, Virginia A. (eds.). Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium. The National Academies Collection: Reports funded by National Institutes of Health. Washington, DC: National Academies Press (US). ISBN 978-0-309-48834-1. PMID 30844154. Archived from the original on 2024-05-09. Retrieved 2024-06-21.
  3. ^ Welman, Mienkie. "Cucumis metuliferus". PlantZAfrica.com. South African National Biodiversity Institute. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Living - Kiwano: It's what's inside that counts - Seattle Times Newspaper". nwsource.com.
  5. ^ (in French) Parc de Khal-agadi, pas si désert, in Science & Vie n° 1130, November 2011, pp. 18–21.
  6. ^ 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. Archived from the original on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2015-01-10.
  7. ^ Lim, T. K. (2012-01-30). Edible Medicinal And Non-Medicinal Plants: Volume 2, Fruits. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9789400717633.
  8. ^ "What does kiwano taste like?".
  9. ^ "The Dinner Diva: Let's discover some more little-known fruits". DeseretNews.com. 21 February 2008.
  10. ^ "Mountain Herb Estate - VEGETABLE - CUCUMBER, AFRICAN HORNED, Jelly Melon, Kiwano, Rooi-agurkie, Rooikomkommer (Afr.), Mokapana (Tswana) (Cucumis metuliferus)". www.herbgarden.co.za. Retrieved 2015-06-07.
  11. ^ Benzioni, Aliza. "Kiwano". www.hort.purdue.edu. Purdue University. Retrieved 3 June 2015.