Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Cucumis metuliferus
Naudin, Cucurbitaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk; score: 11 (Hawaii-Pacific Weed Risk Assessment for Cucumis metuliferus)

Other Latin names:  Cucumis metulifer ?; Cucumis tinneanus Kotschy & Peyr.

Common name(s): [more details]

English: African horned cucumber, African horned melon, horny cucumber, jelly melon, kiwano

Habit:  vine

Description:  "Cucumis metuliferus is an annual climbing or rarely trailing herb; vegetative parts rough with spreading hairs. Stems are up to 3 m long, radiating from a woody rootstock. The leaves are broadly ovate-cordate in outline, up to 90 x 100 mm, unlobed or usually palmately 3-5-lobed, veins below very roughly hairy, margins minutely toothed; leaf stalks (petioles) up to 100 mm long. Both male and female flowers appear on the same plant (monoecious). Male flowers are solitary or up to 4 in sessile or short-stalked groups, greenish to light yellow, the corolla is 5-10 mm long. Female flowers are solitary on 20-60 mm long stalks; the ovary is up to 20 mm long, pale green with numerous minute, dark green fleshy spines, the corolla is yellow, 8-15 mm long. The fruit is ellipsoid-cylindrical, obscurely trigonous (triangular in shape), 60-150 mm long, 30-60 mm across when ripe, the scattered spines are rather stout, fleshy, 10 x 2-5 mm, broad-based, deep green-grey, ripening yellow to orange-red with obscure longitudinal stripes of small pale markings and rather softly fleshy. Seeds are ellipsoid, flattened, 6-9 mm long, numerous, embedded in a light green or emerald-green, jelly-like flesh." (PlantZAfrica)

Habitat/ecology:  "[Cucumis metuliferus] usually grows in shallow or deep, well-drained sand, mostly in alluvial soil on river banks, in river beds or flood plains; it is also recorded from clay or loam soil and rocky slopes. It climbs on trees, shrubs or grass in various vegetation types such as forest edges (often riverine), semi-evergreen forest, deciduous woodland (often with Acacia), savanna or grassland. The jelly melon also grows in disturbed areas and abandoned land." (PlantZAfrica)

"Cucumis metuliferus grows at an altitude of 210 m to as high as 1800 m above sea level. Based on the information on specimen labels in the National Herbarium (PRE), the flowering time is from about January to May while the fruiting time is from about February to July. Birds eat the juicy ripe fruits. Hollowed-out shells are often found on the ground; rodents, primates and small antelopes (e.g. steenbok) nibble on the fruit." (PlantZAfrica)

"Semi-evergreen forest, woodland, wooded grassland and grassland, also on abandoned cultivated land, often riverine 3001100 m." (Flora Zambesiaca)

Propagation:  In cultivation, from seed: sow indoors before last frost direct sow after last frost; remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing; allow unblemished fruit to ripen, then clean and dry seeds; seed does not store well, so sow as soon as possible. (Dave's Garden)

Native range:  -

Impacts and invaded habitats:  Cucumis metuliferus has been reported as invasive in Croatia, Yemen, and the Seychelles (GBIF).

If you know of other invaded habitats or impacts, please report invaded habitats or impacts of Cucumis metuliferus to PIER.

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
French Polynesia
French Polynesia Islands
French Polynesia Islands   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island   Consortium of Pacific Herbaria (2018)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Asia
Asia
Afganistan   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Asia
Asia
Yemen native
U.S. National Plant Germplasm System (year unknown)
accessed 20180929
Asia
Asia
Yemen introduced
invasive
GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930, assuming that "invasive" implies "introduced"
Australia
Australia
Australia invasive
Holm, Leroy/Pancho, Juan V./Herberger, James P./Plucknett, Donald L. (1979) (p. 105)
(S)erious weed
Australia
Australia
Australia   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland introduced
invasive
U.S. National Plant Germplasm System (year unknown)
accessed 20180929, "naturalized"
Mexico
Mexico
Mexico (United Mexican States)   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country)   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Indian Ocean
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Seychelles
Seychelles Islands
Seychelles Islands introduced
Invasive Species Specialist Group (2017)
Seychelles
Seychelles Islands
Seychelles Islands introduced
invasive
GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930, assuming that "invasive" implies "introduced"
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Africa
Africa
Africa native
cultivated
U.S. National Plant Germplasm System (year unknown)
accessed 20180929, "NORTHEAST TROPICAL AFRICA: Ethiopia, Sudan EAST TROPICAL AFRICA: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda WEST-CENTRAL TROPICAL AFRICA: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Zaire WEST TROPICAL AFRICA: Burkina Faso, Liberia, Senegal SOUTH TROPICAL AFRICA: Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe SOUTHERN AFRICA: Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, [KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga] Swaziland"
Africa
Africa
Angola   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Africa
Africa
Benin   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Africa
Africa
Botswana   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Africa
Africa
Burkina Faso   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Africa
Africa
Burundi   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Africa
Africa
Cameroon   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Africa
Africa
Central African Republic   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Africa
Africa
Equatorial Guinea   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Africa
Africa
Ethiopia   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Africa
Africa
Gabon   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Africa
Africa
Kenya   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Africa
Africa
Liberia   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Africa
Africa
Mozambique   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Africa
Africa
Namibia   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Africa
Africa
Niger   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Africa
Africa
Nigeria   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Africa
Africa
Somalia   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Africa
Africa
South Sudan   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Africa
Africa
Swaziland   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930, loc as "Eswatini"
Africa
Africa
Tanzania   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Africa
Africa
Uganda   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Africa
Africa
Zambia   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Africa
Africa
Zimbabwe   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Europe
Europe
Croatia introduced
invasive
GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930, assuming that "invasive" implies "introduced"
Europe
Europe
Hungary   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Europe
Europe
Netherlands   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Europe
Europe
Sweden   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
Malawi
Malawi
Malawi   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
South Africa
South Africa
South Africa (Republic of)   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
United States of America
United States
United States   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
USA (Florida) introduced
invasive
U.S. National Plant Germplasm System (year unknown)
accessed 20180929, "naturalized"
Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)   GBIF (year unknown)
accessed 20180930

Control:  If you know of control methods for Cucumis metuliferus, please let us know.


Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER! (pier@hear.org)

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This page was created on 12 SEP 2017 and was last updated on 30 SEP 2018.