Cucumber, a trailing vine of the gourd family. Its green fruit—usually long and warty with crisp, white flesh—is sliced and eaten raw in salads, or pickled with dill or other spices and eaten as a relish. Cucumbers are also prepared creamed, braised, or au gratin. Cucumbers are a good source of vitamins A and C and potassium. They are low in calories and contain very little fat.
The cucumber has hairy leaves and stems. The three-lobed leaves grow up to six inches (15 cm) long. The fruit is oblong and has a fleshy pulp. It is dark green and, typically, up to nine inches (23 cm) long. The cucumber plant bears yellow, bell-shaped flowers.
Cucumber plants require warmth, moisture, and sandy loam soil. They are sprawling plants and should be planted in rows five to six feet (1.5 to 1.8 m) apart.
Cucumbers are attacked by many diseases and insects. To combat their insect enemies, which include aphids and striped cucumber beetles, the vines are sprayed with pesticides such as malathion or carbaryl. Diseases such as scab, mosaic disease, and mildew are controlled by destroying weeds (which can carry the diseases) and old vines and by planting disease-resistant varieties.
The cucumber is Cucumis sativus of the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae.