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Perennial Creeping Cucumber Breeding Mix
Perennial Creeping Cucumber Breeding Mix

Perennial Creeping Cucumber Breeding Mix

Regular price $4.00 Sale

Melothria pendula

Origin: Delaware

Improvement status: Wild

Seeds per packet: ~25


Life cycle: Perennial

EFN INTRODUCTION. Also known as "Guadeloupe Cucumber", creeping cucumber is native to the US southeast and the Caribbean. It is a perennial member of the cucumber/squash/gourd family (Cucurbitaceae). This species is a close cousin to the annual Melothria scabra (commonly known as mouse melon, cucamelon, or Mexican sour gherkin), but the fruit is slightly smaller. This year's batch of seeds were grown nearby to some Melothria scabra, so it's possible some crossing has occurred — meaning you should keep your eyes out for plants that produce particularly large fruit compared to the rest, and let us know if those prove to be perennials too!

The unripe fruit of this species, as shown, look like jelly-bean-sized watermelons. They taste like cucumbers, but with a bit more sweetness and sourness. They're edible raw and also good for pickles. When fully ripe, the fruits turn black and look like little black olives. At this point the seeds are viable, but the fruit is no longer edible (said to be a powerful laxative).

Pennsylvania is considered the northernmost part of its range, but we haven't heard of any confirmed sites there. As the climate changes, many species are on the move, and this creeping cucumber is creeping north. The Delaware population that gave rise to these seeds was only discovered about a decade ago, so it's unclear how old it is, but is the farthest north confirmed location of this species. (We do know people who grow this species as far north as Massachusetts, so it's certainly worth a try beyond its range.) The plant is a spindly little vine, which often prefers to creep along the ground rather than climb. It should be given plenty of space, perhaps a whole section of garden, or a scrubby farm edge. In parts of its native range it is considered a weed, so care should be taken to make sure it doesn't get out of hand.

These seeds were grown in Vineland, New Jersey, by our friends Corrie and Jose Spellman-Lopez. Their stock seed is the same 'Delaware' Creeping Cucumber we have sold for years, but — again — they grew it in close proximity to some Melothria scabra, a close relative, so it's possible there has been some crossing.

NOTE: Because we have a limited amount of these seeds and each seed is unique and potentially precious, we do not conduct germination tests (which would require sacrificing hundreds of seeds) on breeding populations like this one. But these seeds were grown in 2023 and processed following our typical best practices. If buyers are unsatisfied, please contact us.