Cucumber Landraces-- Xishuangbanna Orange Fleshed and Sikkim

Aparently there is a Cucumis sativus that actually has ORANGE FLESH!? I don’t know if it taste sweet like a melon. It’s called the Xishuangbanna Cucumber found in China. Have y’all ever seen this?

*** UPDATE! ***
There also exist Indian Cucumbers that have Orange Flesh too! Perhaps they share ancestors?

Could that be a cassabanana? They’re Sicana odorifera, a completely different genus and species.

Nope (That’s what makes it Facinating), the seeds of Xishuangbanna Cucumber are Cucumis like. Seeds of Cassabanana are significantly different. Speaking of which Sicana ordorifera is Cucurbitae (Squash) Tribe while Cucumis sativus is Benicasae (Melon) Tribe. Explains why Sicana ordorifera seeds look more squash-like.

Wowwww. That sounds really interesting. Maybe it’s a hybrid between Cucumis satvis and Cucumis melo? (Gosh, if something like that existed, it could be cool.)

1 Like

Found this most interesting:

“Cucumber populations. a The core collection of 115 lines re-sequenced by Qi et al. (2013). Colour codes indicate geographic groups b Fruit morphology of the four groups. The cucumber line CG1601 (East Asian) bears fruits with dense, white spines and an elongated stalk. Fruits of cucumber line CG5278 (Eurasian) lack spines and have a short fruit stalk. Cucumber line CG9164 (Xishuangbanna) bears melon-like fruits with a low fruit shape index (length/width) and a unique orange endocarp. Cucumber line CG0002 (Indian) bears small, oval fruits with sparse, black spines. Note that the images differ in scale. Reproduced from Qi et al. including Renner (2013).”

Map and text taken from @VeggieSavage last link. So it seems to be one of the 4 subgroups of cuc sativus, the only one looking like melo. The “Sikkim” cucumbers are also a sub group, interestingly enough.

There are also interesting findings about growth habits, colours, uses and other things related to this cucumber in different scientific papers:

  • IJMS | Free Full-Text | Lipid-Related Domestication Accounts for the Extreme Cold Sensitivity of Semiwild and Tropic Xishuangbanna Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L. var. xishuangbannanesis)
    "Xishuangbanna (XIS) cucumber (Cucumis sativus L. var. xishuangbannanesis) is a semiwild variety originating from low latitude tropic areas, and therefore shows extreme cold sensitivity and heat tolerance. "

  • The Xishuangbanna Gourd (Cucumis sativus var. xishuangbannesis Qi et Yuan), a Traditionally Cultivated Plant 9of the Hanai people, Xishuangbanna, Yunan, China – The Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative (CGC)
    “Introduction. Xishuangbanna gourd (Cucumis sativus L. var. xishuangbannesis Qi et Yuan) is an special type of cucumber traditionally cultivated by the Hani people on the mountainous level at about 1000 meters above sea level. The variety has not been introduced for cultivation in other regions. With many national ethnic minorities and rich in resources, the Xishuangbanna autonomous region lies in the southern area of Yunan Province, China. This region is located 2110′-2240; N and 9955′ – 1015′ E, and has an area of 19,220 square kilometers, with a tropical monsoon climate (Pei Sheen, 1982). Hani is an ethnic minority region with a population of about 10,000 who live in the mountains about 800 meters above sea level. They have their own languages but do not communicate by written word. Traditionally, they have their own ways of cultivating and utilizing the Xishuangbanna gourd. It is commonly called ‘Shihuo’ nd has many regional types (e.g. Cattle shihuo, Ivory shihuo, and Round shihuo). The Hani people intercrop gourd plants with dry rice, because they think the two crops are interdependent.”
    “The fruits of Xishuangbanna gourd can be used as follows: 1) sliced and spiced, and then eaten raw as vegetable; 2) as fruits to quench thirst, especially when working away from home; and 3) as the appetizers with wines when eaten raw during or after drinking.”
    " the Hanai people have virtually no farming system and no common method of growing vegetables. However, they like the Xishuangbanna gourd very much, possibly because it requires no special care to produce a relatively high yield. Furthermore, this variety has a long harvest span and good postharvest storage characteristics. Because of its delicious taste, Dai and Han have recently begun consuming Xishuangbanna gourd in large quantity."
    “Characteristics. Intercropped with dry rice, Xishuangbanna gourd is sown in April and harvested from July to November. The plants of Xishuangbanna gourd grow more vigorously than the common cultivated cucumber (C. sativus), having primary stems 6-7 meters long and 20-40 lateral branches. The plants can reach a whole vine length of around 8 meters with 900 nodes, and bear about 10 mature fruits with a yield of 10-20 kilograms per plant. Plants are relatively resistant to common diseases.”

  • Preliminary Studies on Cucumis sativus var. xishuangbannanesis – The Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative (CGC)
    “The orange flesh and placenta of mature fruits darkens from the rind to the placenta with age. Weight of a single fruit averages 2 to 3 kg and contains upwards of 1000 seeds. Based on these characteristics, the Xishuangbanna gourd was originally thought to be variety of C. melo L. (1). However, the flavor of the flesh is similar to that of the common cultivated cucumber (C. sativus).”

  • Xishuangbanna cucumber landraces and associated traditional knowledge
    “The results show that the Xishuangbanna cucumber fruit is characterized by its shelf life and delicious flavor”

1 Like
    "The Xishuangbanna (XIS) cucumber is an important botanical variety, accumulating high levels of β-carotene (700 μg/100 g) in the endocarp of mature fruit compared with normal green/white flesh types (25–50 μg/100 g, fresh weight). "

I found nothing on sweetness, sugary content… And no strains sold anywhere. I suppose we could access this through seed banks.

1 Like

Indeed, Who ever manages to cross cucumis melo x sativus deserved a Medal for Scientific Discovery/Accomplishment. Both belong to different subgenera within cucumis (At least that’s the way I like to think about).

Hmm… That’s Interesting. I thought the easiest way to Identify C. melo & C. sativus was based on the bumps or evidence of bumps. Every C. sativus has bumps on it’s flowers while every C. melo is bumpless, thus flower ovaries bumps carry into the mature fruit, right?

Interesting, aparently the Indian group is wild. To clear up the confusion I’m having, there exist also Indian Melons (Cucumis melo). For example I saved seeds from a Dosokai Melon which is Cucumis melo & now there is also an Indian Cucumis sativus too? This is interesting since both a roughly about the same size.

This sounds like a Landrace! Imagine if we could get these in the GoingToSeed Mixes.

Wait, is only fully mature fruit Orange inside? Or is the unripe fruit also Orange?
"Xishuangbanna gourd is sown in April and harvested from July to November. " This implies both?

Thank you for the Incredible Research you have done, finding all this Juicy Info! Seed banks may be the most viable option, except how do we go about accessing those seeds? Also Traveling to China is off the table right? Maybe Finding someone from China to trade seeds with is easier?

I don’t believe so. This subgroup is sikkimensis, i.e. from Sikkim. I got a few cultivated strains which from this group: “Sikkim”, Gagon (from Nepal), Poona Kheera, and Kaiser Alexander. They have brown skins rather than the yellow ones of the two other usual subgroups. Sikkim and Gagon (at least) plants are huge compared to the other usuals, and yield high in my place

Yes it is! Or at least it serms so. Read this : "Xishuangbanna gourd consists as a population with a variety of fruit shapes and rind colors. The mature fruits, each weighing an average 2-3 kilograms, have the smooth rinds without thorns. The fruit shapes of the Xishuangbanna gourd can be divided into three types: 1) long and narrow, 2) column-like, and 3) round. The long and column-like types are distributed in Jinhong County, Monghai County and Mongna County while the round type is grown mainly in Jinhong County. " Taken from: The Xishuangbanna Gourd (Cucumis sativus var. xishuangbannesis Qi et Yuan), a Traditionally Cultivated Plant 9of the Hanai people, Xishuangbanna, Yunan, China – The Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative (CGC)

1 Like

Wait, so Sikkim cucumbers aren’t just an ecotype of C. sativus var. sativus? Their different enough to be considered a different variety? well what about Cucumbers that crack their skin when ripe? Are they Indian group too?

That’s insane! It’s like the weight of a cantelope melon. Also smooth rinds without thorns!? Not even evidence of thorns/spines/bumps? What about the female flowers, do they have bumps like all cucumis sativus? If not, this Xishuangbanna Cucumber might break the morphological Identification separating Cucumis melo from cucumis sativus! This is why it’s important to know, have you found a picture of it’s female flower so we can see the Ovary?

In order to access it if I were you (in the US) I would start reaching out to Suzanne Renner, the author of this + co author of the map with the four sub groups, and so co-author of the edition of the “core collection” of cucumbers: 115 strains encompassing nearly all the genetic diversity in cuc. sativus. She may help.

I don’t know much personnally about your more specific questions.

1 Like

Sorry I was wrong about that: I got mixed up. They are I think a sub sub group within the Indian sub group. I was quite sure about that though… But it was a belief :slight_smile: maybe an article I red too fast

1 Like

Another possibility is that, if it really has that many traits in common with Cucumis melo, despite being a Cucumis sativus, it may be compatible as a bridge between the species. That would be interesting!

That may especially be the case if this is a population of Cucumis sativus that’s more closely related than usual to the shared ancestor Cucumis melo split off from.


Thank you for your solid advise. I will try to find their emails & reach out to them (Or other relevant contact info, who know maybe I can get these seeds into GoingToSeed too :joy:). I would’ve made a ResearchGate Account but being a Citizen Scientist isn’t enough. I would have to invent a fake University which isn’t what I want to do.

That makes more sense, thank you!

Interesting INDEED! It could also be possible that the wild versions of both species are more closely compatible. I wonder if Cucumis maderaspatanus could hybridize with them both? (Used to be in it’s own genus mukia). Possibly a Hybrid swarm needs to be made. Below is Phylogenic Tree

Speaking of Mukia (Cucumis maderaspatanus), according to Perdue University Ripe fruit is eaten raw in India (Balrampur Region).

“Fruits are edible, eaten raw (Petrus, 2013). Fruits are used as medicine to treat dysuria, piles, polyuria and tuberculosis (Pandey 1994; Lather et al., 2011). Nutritional analysis of fruit is a good source of total sugar and protein (Sibangini Malaya, 2016).” According to this Research Gate Link

This is good NEWS!!! Because the fruits are a good source of Sugar & Protien means that they are likely sweet & Nutritious! Even tho fruits are small, This could still become a New Crop to landrace or if Possible used to make melons into a berry or increase the size of mukia, or as a bridge for Cucumis melo & Cucumis sativus. Mentor Pollination & Grafting may get involved.

1 Like

WOW! That’s a very interesting species I had never heard of before!

I’m soooo curious about how they taste.

1 Like

I wonder where I can get some seeds. Seems to be a Common Weed in India & Asia. One man’s weed is another man’s genetic treasure :smile:

It’s so true!

1 Like

60 days. Sweet, bitter-free Italian heirloom novelty. Harvest fruits young for use as a traditional cucumber or allow to grow larger and use as a melon. Spineless fruits have a downy peach type fuzz. Very productive.

It’s sold by totally tomato

That’s a type of melon. Any melon you could use as a cucumber. Some taste better than others as immature. Those are bred to be used as immature.

1 Like

Interesting, & I thought Sweetness actually existed in Cucumis sativus. It’s seems like sweetness only exists in Cucumis melo as far as I know.

Don’t be too sure.

I bought it, and I’ll be trying it out this year. :smiley:

1 Like