Ornamental Cucumber Toxicity

FlowrPowrSeptember 6, 2007

I was wondering if anyone in this forum could answer a question about ornamental cucumbers. I hope this is the right forum to ask in.

I work at a greenhouse/produce stand. My boss is always looking for the strange and unusual plants. This year she tried a new type of cucumber, that is covered in soft bristles. The bristles are about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch long. We were all admiring the neat looking cucumber, and I decided to try one. It looked like a normal cuke on the inside, so I touched it with the tip of my tongue. It was the most hideous, bitter tasting thing I have ever tasted. One of the girls actually took a small bite, and she said she felt sick for quite some time after. It was a taste that you couldn't get out of your mouth.

I seem to remember reading once about bitter plants containing alkoids, and I think I might have scared the girl that ate it, telling her about it. My boss tried to find the seed packet with the name of the plant, but she couldn't. If we do get a name for it, I will let you know. But until then, have any of you ever heard about a toxic cucumber? Any thoughts on this would be appreciated. They were just getting ready to head off to the farmers market with them, to sell them as edible. Needless to say, they put a sign on them, ornamental only. At least until we find out more about them.

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leftwood(z4a MN)

Not exactly what you're talking about, but Melothria pendula fruit(same family Cucurbitaceae) is said to be poisonous by some literature, and this site says the seeds are purgative. Melothria scabra I grew this year, and find those edible fruits tasty. Sweet cucumber with a little zing of gooseberry.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2007 at 6:37PM
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