Perhaps you enjoy cucumbers in your garden salad, or in some other form, say dill or sweet pickles?
If so, you may be surprised that one form of cucumber—the Guadeloupe or creeping cucumber is not considered by most to be a food item at all, but a weed.
This ‘cucumber’ predominates in the southeastern quadrant of the United States, although it is also found elsewhere in the world.
The Guadeloupe or Creeping Cucumber
Some would beg to differ as to its being inedible. While it remains obviously green (resembling a small watermelon) they readily consume the tiny fruit. However, as it darkens, turning black, they avoid it, considering the creeping cucumber an intense laxative.
The creeping cucumber is approximately the size of an ordinary jellybean and is quite smooth. It tastes like a cucumber (well, duh!). Its leaves and flowers resemble closely those of an ordinary table cucumber, and it tends to develop white powdery mildew as an ordinary cucumber does.
Food, Ornamental, or Pest?
It is a vine that loves to climb over other plants. Some view it as a total pest; others find it to be an attractive addition. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Putting it another way, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Ordinary table cucumbers have had flavor compounds isolated from them. The Wiley Online Library mentions among them, nona-2, 6-dienal, non-2-enal, hex-2-enal, and three saturated aliphatic aldehydes.
Enjoy this very informative YouTube video on the Melothria pendula or Guadeloupe cucumber. It may help you decide whether or not you desire to taste this member of the cucumber family of plants. If you do, please pay close attention to the advisories concerning its potential laxative properties. But then: maybe you are looking for an effective, natural laxative?
Note: You might also enjoy The Wild Potato or Indian Potato Vine – Desirable or a Pesky Weed?
- Dave’s Garden: Creeping Cucumber, Guadeloupe Cucumber
- Walter Reeves: Creeping Cucumber: Identification
- Wiley Online Library: The Flavor of Cucumbers
2 thoughts on “Guadeloupe or Creeping Cucumber – Weed or Food?”
I don’t think we have it over here in the UK. Pity, it sounds an interesting plant, though maybe we have enough creepers trying to take over! Useful article, thanks.
Our dogs eat the leaves like crazy. Is it possible that they settle an upset stomach?