Ecballium elaterium   Squirting Cucumber

Ecballium elaterium whole Ecballium elaterium whole

E. elaterium is a native of the Mediterranean, north Africa and western Asia. The tautological systematic name (Ejecting squirter) decribes the way the seeds are explosively ejected from the ripe fruit.

Just touching one of the ripe "cucumbers" cause the seeds and the mucilagenous contents to be squirted for up to 6 metres. Both Ecballium and elaterium are Latin words meaning "eject" but there is another powerful ejection mecahnism at work here if you swallow some of the seeds.

The seeds are a powerful purgative so beware: the squirting squirter's squirted seeds can give you the squirts.

Ecballium elaterium

Ecballium elaterium Squirting Cucumber

waste ground, Alora, Andalucia, 29th March 2008

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Ecballium elaterium

LHS: waste ground, Alora, Andalucia, 29th March 2008 RHS: Waste ground Ano Stallos, Crete 4th April 2007

Added on 16th December 2008, updated 28th March 2010, updated 5th Dec 2014

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