Cucumis anguria, commonly known as maroon cucumber, West Indian gherkin, maxixe, burr gherkin, cackrey, and West Indian gourd, is a vine that is indigenous to Africa, but has become naturalized in the New World, and is cultivated in many places. It is similar and related to the common cucumber (C. sativus) and its cultivars are known as gherkins.
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.
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.
Cucumis anguria has become naturalized in: Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Australia (Queensland and Western Australia); 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); Venezuela; and both British and American Virgin Islands.
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.
Cucumis anguria is primarily grown (as a crop plant) for its edible fruit, which are used in pickling, as cooked vegetables, or eaten raw. The flavor is similar to that of the common cucumber. 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).
This species, Cucumis anguria L., has a name that other species may share:
- Cucumis anguria Forssk., a synonym for Cucumis prophetarum
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- 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.
- "Cucumis anguria". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved November 4, 2012.
- "Cucumis anguria". EcoCrop. FAO. 1993–2007. Archived from the original on July 2, 2015. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
- "Profile for Cucumis anguria (West Indian gherkin)". PLANTS Database. USDA, NRCS. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
- "Maxixe | WorldCrops". worldcrops.org. Retrieved 2020-04-26.
- Weaver, William Woys. "Growing Burr Gherkins - Organic Gardening". Mother Earth News. Retrieved 2020-04-26.
- "Cackery". Archived from the original on 2015-07-02.
- "Cucumis anguria". FloraBase. Western Australian Government Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.
- Purseglove, J.W. (1968). Tropical Crops Dicotyledons. London: Longmans, Green and Co. Ltd.
- "How to Grow Gherkins". Gardening Jones. 3 September 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
- James A. Duke. "Cucumis anguria (CUCURBITACEAE)". Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. Retrieved December 25, 2017.