Botanical Name: Cucumis metuliferus
Species: C. metuliferus
Common Names: Horned melon, Spiked melon, or Kiwano, also African horned cucumber or Melon, Jelly melon, Hedged gourd, Melano
Habitat: It is belived to be native to South Africa.It grows in Sub -Saharan Africa. It is now grown in the United States, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Chile, Australia, and New Zealand.
Cucumis metuliferus is an annual plant.It is climbing type, growing to a height 1.5 m (5ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10 and is frost tender. It is in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.Its fruit has horn-like spines, hence the name “horned melon”.
Requires a rich, well-drained moisture retentive soil and a very warm, sunny sheltered position. A frost-tender plant, the horned cucumber is frequently cultivated for its fruit in tropical and sub-tropical climates, there are some named varieties. It requires a hotter summer than is normally experienced in Britain in order to produce a worthwhile crop and is generally best grown in a greenhouse in this country
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.
Seed – sow early to mid spring in a greenhouse in a rich soil. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. Sow 2 or 3 seeds per pot and thin out to the best plant. Grow them on fast and plant out after the last expected frosts, giving them cloche or frame protection for at least their first few weeks if you are trying them outdoors.
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. In northern Zimbabwe it is called gaka or gakachika, and is primarily used as a snack or salad, and rarely for decoration. Ripe fruit has orange skin and lime green, jelly-like flesh with a refreshingly fruity taste, and texture similar to a passionfruit or pomegranate. It can be eaten at any stage of ripening, but when overripened, will burst forcefully to release seeds.
The fruit’s taste has been compared to a combination of banana and passionfruit or a combination of banana, cucumber and lime. 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.
The seeds are vermifuge. They are ground into a fine flour, then made into an emulsion with water and eaten. It is then necessary to take a purge in order to expel the tapeworms or other parasites from the body.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.