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Cucumis africanus

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds may have physiological dormancy, which can be overcome with a moist pre-heat treatment before germination.

Cucumis africanus (Image: S. Wood, RBG Kew)

Seed Storage

This species has Orthodox seeds - dry to 15-20% eRH and store at -20ºC, or as cool as possible.

Germination Requirements

This species is expected to be Physiologically Dormant (based on other species in the same genus).

Place the seeds on agar, germination paper or sand and allow to imbibe for 14 days at 25°C. Remove the testa and germinate on a suitable medium at 25ºC or under an alternating temperature regime of 30/20°C.

It may be necessary to wash the seeds in 10% sodium hypochlorite solution for 5 mins before sowing, to prevent fungal contamination during germination. Incubating the seeds in 24hr darkness may also help germination.

Seed Morphology

See more images of this species at the Digital Atlas of Economic Plants.

Cucumis africanus
(Image: S. Wood, RBG Kew)



Accepted nameCucumis africanus L.f.

SynonymsCucumis hookeri Naudin

Common name: wild cucumber, wild gherkin

References and Links

  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (1994). Genebank Standards. FAO/IPGRI, Rome, Italy.
  • International Seed Testing Association (2010). International Rules for Seed Testing: edition 2010. ISTA, Bassersdorf, Switzerland.
  • Rao, N.K., Hanson, J., Dulloo, M.E., Ghosh, K., Nowell, D. and Larinde, M. (2006). Manual of seed handling in genebanks. Handbooks for Genebanks No. 8. Bioversity International, Rome, Italy.
  • AFPD (African Flowering Plants Database) - Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève and South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria: Cucumis africanus.
  • AVRDC - The World Vegetable Centre: fact sheet on Cucumis africanus.
  • PROTAbase (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa) - Wageningen, Netherlands: Cucumis africanus.
  • SID (Seed Information Database) - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK: Cucumis africanus.
  • Tropicos - Missouri Botanical Garden, USA: Cucumis africanus.