Common Name: Hedgehog Cucumber
Hedgehog cucumber is a fibrous-rooted annual plant producing stems up to 2 metres long that scramble over the ground or climb into other plants, supporting themselves by means of tendrils[
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild as a local source of food and medicine. It is sold in local markets[
East tropical Africa - Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania; Arabian Peninsula - Yemen.
Deciduous Acacia woodland, wooded grassland and Acacia- Commiphora bushland, also in cultivated places; at elevations from 20 - 2,000 metres[
A plant of drier areas in the lowland tropics, ascending to elevations up to 2,000 metres.
Prefers a sunny position in a well-drained soil.
The plant has become widely naturalized in the tropics and is considered to be invasive in some areas[
Seeds - cooked[
]. The pale brown seeds are 3 - 5mm long[
]. The tender leaves and young shoots are chopped, cooked, coconut milk or groundnut paste is added and the dish is served with a staple[
]. The tender leaves can also be dried in the sun and then pounded into powder. The powder is then soaked in hot water, boiled and stirred. The vegetable is then ready for eating with a staple[
]. The yellow, subglobose to ellipsoid fruit is densely and softly spiny or bristly, about 20 - 70mm long and 15 - 35mm in diameter[
Leaves and roots are pounded and used as a poultice to treat wounds[
The juice from the fruits is used as an antidote for poisoning, but it has to be supplemented by drinking fresh milk[
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