Fine Art

Cyclanthera brachystachya

Cyclanthera brachystachya , Photo: Michael Lahanas

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordo: Cucurbitales

Familia: Cucurbitaceae
Tribus: Sicyoeae
Genus: Cyclanthera
Species: Cyclanthera brachystachya

Cyclanthera brachystachya (Ser.) Cogn., Diagn. Cucurb. Nouv. 2: 64 1877.

Cyclanthera bourgaeana Naud.
Cyclanthera costaricensis Cogn.
Cyclanthera costaricensis var. angustiloba Cogn.
Cyclanthera elastica Hort.
Cyclanthera explodens Naud.
Cyclanthera explodens var. intermedia Cogn. ex Kuntze
Cyclanthera explodens var. trifida Cogn. ex Kuntze
Cyclanthera glauca Cogn.
Cyclanthera glauca var. angustiloba Cogn.
Elaterium brachystachyum Ser.
Momordica brachybotrys Poepp. & Endl.
Momordica glauca Mor. ex Cogn.

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Southern America
Regional: Central America
Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama
Regional: Northern South America
Colombia (Antioquia, Cauca, Cundinamarca, Cauca, La Guajira), Venezuela (Aragua, Delta Amacuro, Distrito Federal, Lara, Merida, Miranda, Monagas, Portuguesa, Tachira, Trujillo)
Regional: Western South America
Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia (Cochabamba, La Paz, Santa Cruz)
Continental: Northern America
Regional: Mexico
Mexico (Chiapas, Veracruz)

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Cogniaux, C.A. 1877. Diagnoses de Cucurbitacées nouvelles et observations sur les espèces critiques, Premier et deuxième fascicules 2:64.


Hassler, M. 2019. Cyclanthera brachystachya. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2019. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2019 Dec 29. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2019. Cyclanthera brachystachya. Published online. Accessed: Dec 29 2019.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2019. Cyclanthera brachystachya in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2019 Dec 29. Reference page. 2019. Cyclanthera brachystachya. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 29 Dec 2019.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Cyclanthera brachystachya in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 09-Oct-10.

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Explodiergurke
svenska: Springgurka

Cyclanthera brachystachya, the exploding cucumber (but not to be confused with Ecballium elaterium), in the cucurbit or gourd family (Cucurbitaceae), is a herbaceous vine usually grown for its curiosity value, but the fruit is also edible.[1]

The unusual fruit are bilaterally symmetrical, bulbous and spiny. They explode when ripe as a means of seed dispersal.
Exploding cucumber (Cyclanthera explodens) in slow motion

Origin and distribution

The plant is endemic from Southern Mexico through Colombia and Ecuador.[1]
Food uses

The fruit can be used raw when small (less than 2 cm) in salads, or cooked when mature (2.5 cm, exploded).[2]

It is propagated by its puzzle piece -shaped seed, and grown in conditions similar to other cucurbits like cucumbers and melons. It prefers warm, hot climates with regular watering. Once established the vine can grow quickly up to 10–15 feet. Although preferably grown over some kind of support, it can also be grown along the ground. The plant produces both male and female flowers on the same plant in mid-summer.[3]


"Exploding Cucumber - Cyclanthera explodens".
"Cucumber Vegetable Seeds to buy in the UK from The Real Seed Catalogue".
Realfood. "achocha".

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