Cucumber Crop Information


  • by Todd C. Wehner
  • Department of Horticultural Science
  • North Carolina State University
  • Raleigh, NC 27695-7609

Cucumber, Cucumis sativus, is the fourth most important vegetable crop in the world and the most important cucurbit.

Early cucumber cultivars were monoecious, but gynoecious, androecious, hermaphroditic, gynomonoecious, andromonoecious and trimonoecious forms are also present in this species.

Spine color is associated with mature fruit color and fruit netting. Fruit of white-spined cultivars are cream or yellow at maturity and not netted. Black-spined fruit are orange or red (brown) at maturity and are cracked or netted.

Most cultivars have long vines, and are grown flat on the ground for pickling and slicing type cultivars, or on trellis supports for Oriental and greenhouse types. Cucumber is grown for its fruit, which are eaten fresh or pickled, or fried (usually when fruit have been harvested at a more mature stage).

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) is thought to have originated in India. Cucumber was probably domesticated in Asia, and then introduced into Europe. Cucumbers were brought to the Americas by Christopher Columbus, and Native Americans were growing cucumbers from Florida to Canada by the early 16th century.

Related species are Cucumis hystrix from China, and the African Cucumis species, such as melon (Cucumis melo), gherkin (Cucumis anguria), and their wild relatives.