Common Name: Cucumber, oi
Cucumbers are gourd fruits native to southern India. Other edible members of this family include squash, melons and pumpkins. The wild ancestor of the edible cucumber has never been identified. The best guess is C. hardwickii, a native of the Himalayas, small and bitter, with many small spines. Cucumbers have been cultivated for 4,000 years. The earliest writings of the Hebrews, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans contain numerous references to this plant. Roman gardeners grew cucumbers in earth-filled baskets, carting the plants from spot to spot to take advantage of limited off-season sun. Cucumbers came to the new world with Columbus, who planted them in his experimental garden in 1493. They reappeared in Europe by the 17th century and are now widespread.