Plant Name Cucumis sativus
Interesting facts and history
Cucumber is one of the oldest cultivated plants, native to southwest Asia. Humans began to cultivate it as long ago as the prehistoric era, and historical record indicates that it was a favorite of the ancient Egyptians. Its popularity spread with the Romans, who brought it to the farthest reaches of their empire, and it finally reached the Americas with Spanish explorers, who carried it across the sea.
Annual monoecious herb with trailing or scandent stems up to 5 m long, having simple tendrils up to 30 cm long; stem 4–5-angled, sparingly branched, with bristle-like hairs
The stems are prostrate, angular, and covered in white pubescence.
The leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade has lobes, or it has both teeth and lobes
there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
there are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower the petals or the sepals are fused into a cup or tube
the fruit is fleshy length 50–500 mm
Habit / Habitat
Herbaceous vine with pubescent stems and unbranched tendrils up to 30cm long
- sativus grows on moist, well-drained (sandy) soils rich in organic matter and slightly alkaline. It prefers full sun exposure in warm and humid climates; it is not frost resistant . "
Cucumbers came originally from southern Asia, but are now cultivated commercially and in home gardens throughout the world.
World wide use: Fruit.
Main preparations: Raw, cooked, pickled, juiced
Raw: Raw cucumbers are often sliced and added to salads or sandwiches, and they provide all of their health benefits when consumed this way.
Cooked: Cooked cucumbers lose a small amount of their nutritional value, but still serve as a common and healthy component of larger dishes.
Pickled: Pickles or gherkins are a common preparation of cucumbers, but because the brine used to pickle the cucumbers is high in salt and other additives, pickles are not as healthy as raw or cooked cucumbers.
Juiced: Cucumber juice is the least common preparation. It provides many of the health benefits, but due to the removal of pulp when juicing, the anthelmintic properties of the seeds may be reduced."
Used by tribal community in Jawhar: Fruits
Method of consumption
Jawhar tribal: Direct consumption of fruits
Cucumbers should be picked while still young and just before they start turning yellow.
As a commonly used ingredient of many dishes, cucumber is better known for its culinary uses than for its medicinal properties. However, it has been proven to be beneficial for:
Reducing inflammation. Cucumber is commonly used to reduce skin inflammation and can be useful for reducing internal swelling as well.
Stimulating urination. Cucumber has diuretic properties.
Delaying age-related disease. Antioxidants, which prevent the oxidation - a process thought to contribute to signs of aging - can be found in cucumber.
Regulating intestinal processes. Cucumber has been used to treat dysentery, and its seeds have also been shown to help rid the body of tapeworms.
Nutritional and medicinal information
The leaf juice is emetic, it is used to treat dyspepsia in children. The fruit is depurative, diuretic, emollient, purgative and resolvent. The fresh fruit is used internally in the treatment of blemished skin, heat rash etc, whilst it is used externally as a poultice for burns, sores etc and also as a cosmetic for softening the skin. The seed is cooling, diuretic, tonic and vermifuge. 25 - 50 grams of the thoroughly ground seeds (including the seed coat) is a standard dose as a vermifuge and usually needs to be followed by a purgative to expel the worms from the body. A decoction of the root is diuretic.
Harvesting and preserving
Requires a rich, well-drained moisture retentive soil and a warm very sunny position. A frost-tender plant, the cucumber is commonly cultivated for its edible fruit, there are many named varieties. Many of these varieties are only suitable for protected cropping in Britain though there are a number that have been specifically bred for cool temperate areas and these succeed outdoors in most summers. Many of the cultivars, especially the greenhouse forms, should have their male flowers removed in order to prevent fertilization, since the fertilized fruits have a bitter taste. A number of cultivars have been developed that only produce female flowers. Cucumbers make good companion plants for sweet corn, beans and sunflowers, but they dislike growing with potatoes and aromatic herbs. The roots of cucumber plants secrete a substance that inhibits the growth of most weeds
Propagation and Storage
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.
Cucumber skins have been shown to repel cockroaches in laboratory experiments. The fruit is applied to the skin as a cleansing cosmetic to soften and whiten it. The juice is used in many beauty products.
Genus : Cucumis
Species : sativus