Algeria, Baleares, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Corse, Cyprus,
East Aegean Islands, France, Greece, Iran, Italy, Krym,
Lebanon-Syria, Libya, Morocco, North Caucasus, Palestine,
Portugal, Sardegna, Sicilia, Russa, Spain, Transcaucasus,
Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Yugoslavia
Cucumber, Touch-Me-Not, Exploding cucumber, Springgurke,
Spritzgurke, Jumping cucumber, Spraying cucumber, Wild
Momordica elaterium, L. 1753.
Bryonia elaterium, E.H.L.Krause
Ecballium agreste, Rchb.
This member of the Cucurbitaceae
family was described by
Achille Richard in 1824. It is found in most of
the Mediterranean and Macronesia, growing in rich but drained soil with some
water and lots of sun. The swollen rootstock can grow to eight
centimetres, the vines will grow to 80 centimetres, and
the flowers are dark yellow. The plant can only be reproduced by
The genera name means
'a throwing out' after the seeds. The species name from Greek
elatos; 'to drive' or 'strike', referring to the forceful
expulsion of seeds from this plant; also the extract is a violent
The spraying cucumber
developed a unique strategy for the spreading of its seeds: While the fruit
ripens, pressure develops inside, and one side of the fruit grow
more than the other. When the
fruit separates from the stalk, being touched by an animal,
the sticky seeds squirt out, adhering to the animals skin and
falling of from it some days later, which is the way this plant disperse
its seeds. Hence the name: Squirting cucumber.
Cucurbitoideae, Tribe: Benincaseae.