Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

QUERY: Squirting cucumber

Posted on by royvickery |

2014-08-17 16.47.45Amots Dafni is preparing an article on the folklore of, and names given to, squirting cucumber (Ecballium elaterium).
Believed to be native to south Europe, but now widely naturalised elsewhere, including Jersey and southern England, squirting cucumber gets its English name from its fruits which are explosive when ripe.
Information from any part of the world, but particularly relating to naturalised plants in the British Isles, would be appreciated.

Response:  Although botanists living in the Channel Islands, where Ecballium is naturalised, and elsewhere were questioned, the replies were all negative.  It appears that Ecballium is nowhere sufficiently abundant for it to feature in the folklore of the British Isles [RV, December 2014].

Image: Córdoba, Andalucia, Spain; August 2014.

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